After raising a firestorm of anger and disbelief, the Springfield, Illinois Joint Labor/Management Insurance Committee voted to unanimously reinstate health benefits for the civil union-ed partners of city employees. This was a complete reversal from the December decision that shocked and angered LGBT activists and civil rights organizations. The committee had voted to keep its current eligibility standards for insurance for the next fiscal year and not extend benefits to same-sex spouses, despite the new civil union law which extended the same legal rights as marriage to same-sex partners. The move left partners of city employees in civil unions out in the cold for benefits.
The committee said their decision was purely fiscal, initially claiming costs for the benefits would be nearly $750,000. Committee co-chair Melina Tomaras-Collins, who is also the city's director of human resources, called the move strictly a "cost saving measure" and went on to explain equality vs fiscal concerns:
"It's not an issue of what's right or wrong. It becomes a matter of what you can do with resources you have."
Yet a revised estimate for the six affected couples was only $66,000. More importantly than that, saying that civil rights can be trampled on and disregarded to save a few bucks is a ridiculous and dangerous argument to make in the first place.