City Council Considers Domestic Partner Benefits

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Athens City Council members are mulling over a proposed ordinance that would establish a domestic partner benefits policy for city employees.

Council members listened to a first reading of the proposal at their meeting Monday night.
City council member Christine Knisely (D-At Large) says the ordinance will allow extend employee benefits to individuals who are in committed relationships.
Knisely says employees will have to apply for the benefits policy and there are some requirements that they have to meet.
"They have to be sharing the same residence, have a close personal relationship.  They have to jointly responsible for their living expenses and not married or in a domestic partner relationship with anybody else," explained Knisely.
City council member Elahu Gosney (D-At Large) says he thinks this is a step in the right direction.
"This is bringing us to the forefront of, I think, where we need to be in order to be sure that we are accounting for all our employees and their loved ones," said Gosney. 
The ordinance builds on earlier legislation that established a domestic partner registry and added protection from hate crimes.
Knisely says if the ordinance is passed this month, it would take effect on January 1, 2013.