Anthony Niedwiecki

University of Tampa to Provide Benefits for Same-Sex Couples

Filed By Anthony Niedwiecki | February 05, 2009 10:00 AM | comments

Filed in: Living
Tags: domestic partner benefits, same-sex couples, University of Tampa

The University of Tampa's student newspaper, the Minaret Online, is now reporting that the university will begin offering health insurance and other benefits for same-sex couples in domestic partnerships.

tampa1ED.jpgAn email sent to school faculty and staff stated that they will begin April 1st. The benefits do not extend, however, to heterosexual domestic partnerships because they are legally able to marry in Florida:

The decision to offer same-sex domestic partner benefits was made after a lengthy, thorough and deliberate analysis. In 2008, the University hired an independent consulting firm, Sibson Consulting, to analyze issues and assess the feasibility of offering benefits to domestic partners.

Matt Gould, president of the Gay Lesbian Transgender Straight Bisexual Alliance had this to say of the decision:

It's about time. I think it's great that UT is implementing [benefits], but I think it's wrong that the entire county won't.

Gould is referring to the defeat in Hillsborough County of Commissioner Kevin Beckner's request to consider having the county offer domestic partner benefits. His request was voted down 5-2, with the commissioners not even allowing county staff to look further into the issue.

According to the Minaret, the plan has four components:

-Be made available to employees who are in long-term, committed relationships and cannot marry according to Florida state laws;

-Offer equity with married employees to the extent permitted by federal laws;

-Be financially responsible; and

-Not jeopardize the tax-favored status of any of UT's programs.

Because of the first condition, Sibson's study focused on the potential design and implementation of a same-sex domestic partner (SSDP) benefit program. Their research and recent presentation of findings helped us determine that offering same-sex domestic partner benefits is feasible and beneficial to the UT community.

Many other private universities, including Nova Southeastern and the University of Miami, offer domestic partner benefits, as do approximately 80 percent of U.S. News & World Report's top 50 colleges and more than half of Fortune 500 companies, according to the Chronicle of Higher Education.


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Great someone keep track and keep up pressure. Speaking of which I do no know if our local Univ. does...will check.

Does today's DOMA ruling apply here at all?
A ruling by Judge Stephen Reinhardt of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals says the Defense of Marriage Act is discriminatory and unconstitutional because it denies partner benefits to spouses of gay federal employees. Via Jen Nedeau:

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals just ordered Federal Health Insurance Benefits for same sex married couples. The case involves Deputy Federal Public Defender Brad Levenson, who married Tony Sears last July 12, and 9th Circuit staff lawyer Karen Golinski, who married Amy Cunninghis last year.
Here is the PDF. A snippet:
"The denial of federal benefits to same-sex spouses cannot be justified simply by a distaste for or disapproval of same-sex marriage or a desire to deprive same-sex spouses benefits available to other spouses in order to discourage exercising a legal right afforded them by the state," Reinhardt wrote in his Feb. 2 order....
Both orders are internal employee grievance decisions. Both found in favor of the gay employees, directing court administrators to give health insurance benefits to their spouses. The orders also represent direct challenges to DOMA, the 1996 act that forbids the federal government from treating same-sex relationships as marriages for any purpose.

A lawyer for the staff attorney said this is believed to be the first time federal employees will get benefits covering a same-sex spouse.