City-County Council OKs domestic partner benefits

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The Indianapolis City-County Council has approved a proposal to provide health-care benefits to the domestic partners of city workers.

The proposal that passed Monday night in a 20-8 vote would offer insurance coverage to both same-sex and heterosexual unmarried couples. Supporters say offering domestic-partner benefits will improve the city's image with many companies already providing such coverage.

Republican Mayor Greg Ballard told The Indianapolis Star he hasn't decided whether he'll veto the measure. Ballard says he would prefer that coverage be provided only to same-sex partners because he believes offering it to heterosexual couples is a "disincentive to marry."

Ballard spokesman Marc Lotter told IBJ in May that the mayor would also want to look at the potential fiscal impact and ensure that the policy prevents fraud and abuse.

Council opponents have raised concerns about the estimated $200,000 annual cost and moral implications.

The cities of Bloomington and Carmel and some of Indiana's universities provide benefits for employees' same-sex partners.

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