The Sarasota City Commission voted unanimously this week to draft a policy that would extend health care benefits to unmarried domestic partners of city employees, including same-sex couples. City Commissioner Ken Shelin, who first introduced the concept three years ago, said the end result would be well worth the estimated $115,000 cost for increased health insurance:
Sarasota has characteristically embraced diversity, and that is what this benefit is about. It assures that everyone is treated equally.
If the city approves the measure, it will join about two dozen local governments in Florida offering the benefits to employees with domestic partners. The benefits could be short lived, however, if Amendment 2 passes. The so-called "Marriage Protection" Amendment could rollback all domestic partnership registries and benefits with its vague language.