Windy City Media Group Frontpage News Home
CELEBRATING 28+ YEARS OF Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender NEWS

Search Gay News Articles
Advanced Search
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2014-11-19
Download Issue
  News Index   About WCMG    Publications    Bars & Clubs     Calendar   Videos   Advertisers    OUT! Guide    Classifieds     AIDS @ 32       Marriage
 Local | National | World | Politics | Obits | Profiles | Views | Entertainment | Theater | Dance | Music | Film | Art | Books | TV/Gossip
 Travel | History | Marriage | Youth | Trans | Lesbian | Celebrations | Food | Nightlife | Sports | Health | Real Estate | Autos | Pets | Crime

TRAVEL Eureka Springs, Ark.: Living on mountain time TRAVEL Eureka Springs, Ark.: Living on mountain time
Like the gravity of spring water running down a mountainside, Eureka Springs, ...

Browse Gay News Index   Browse Gay News Archives
  Windy City Times

Springfield votes against benefits for civil union couples
News update posted Dec. 22, 2011
by Kate Sosin, Windy City Times
2011-12-28

facebook twitter del.icio.us stumble upon digg google +1 reddit email


In a move shocking LGBT rights groups in Illinois, Springfield's city government has voted not to extend health benefits to civil union spouses.

The Joint Labor/Management Health Care Committee, a Springfield committee comprised of staffers from various city positions as well as retirees, voted to keep its current eligibility standards for insurance. But despite civil union law, which extended the same legal rights as marriage to same-sex partners in June, Springfield's benefits have not included civil union partners this year.

The committee voted against extending those benefits in its upcoming fiscal year, which begins March 1.

"It was decided strictly as a cost-saving measure to not expand the benefits at this time," said committee co-chair Melina Tomaras-Collins who is also the city's director of human resources. "The City of Springfield is facing serious financial constraints."

Officials said that according to an actuary, the bill for extending such benefits would total $725,000, or an increase of 3.4 percent. The cost of insurance is already set to rise by 3.75 percent for the city.

Tomaras-Collins said that to date, no one has asked the city for benefits for a civil union partner. She said the committee took that fact into account when it voted unanimously not to extend its benefits.

City officials believe the vote is legal because Springfield has self-funded insurance, meaning money is put aside by the city in anticipation of covering benefit costs, rather than purchased commercially. The city pays the cost of 75 percent of that coverage, with employees making up the difference.

It remains uncertain how an actuary totaled the cost of civil union benefits ( both same-sex and opposite sex ) at $725,000, something that both Tomaras-Collins and the city's Budget Director Bill McCarty said they need clarification on.

Asked for a copy of the actuary's report, Tomaras-Collins said a full report has not yet been released.

Because the city is self-insured, however she said, it would have to set aside the money anticipated by the actuary, even if no one has yet requested civil union benefits.

"It's not an issue of what's right or wrong," she said. "It becomes a matter of what you can do with resources you have."

"They did not want to increase the rolls," added McCarty, who does not sit on the committee. "They didn't take away anything."

Illinois LGBT advocacy groups criticized the decision as contrary to the letter and spirit of civil union law.

Christopher Clark, an attorney with Lambda Legal called the vote "an active decision to discriminate against civil union couples."

"This is a blatant disregard of the civil union law which provides couples in a civil union the same benefits as married couples," said Anthony Martinez, executive director of The Civil Rights Agenda in a statement. "With this vote, the committee has shown that they are willing to openly discriminate, which is also against the law in Illinois."

Others have called into question the legality of denying benefits to civil union spouses.

Part of the problem, said Clark, is that federal law does nothing to prevent Springfield from denying such benefits to civil union same-sex spouses. Clark said that the city might duck behind federal laws which preempt state laws and do not recognize same-sex spouses.

Still, he argued, budget problems should not be put on the backs of one segment of the population. He believes the vote might violate state civil union and anti-discrimination laws, but he said Lambda Legal is still looking at the fine print.

"It's simply unfair," he said.

Tomaras-Collins said it has been the practice of the committee to follow federal mandate on such issues, and that past debates on health benefits have deferred to federal standards.

According to McCarty, there has been talk among some alderman of introducing a city ordinance to overturn the vote.


facebook twitter del.icio.us stumble upon digg google +1 reddit email




Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.

Study: Public support for LGBT rights up in last three decades 2014-11-24
U.S. Supreme Court clears way for SC same-sex marriage 2014-11-20
Federal judge: Montana's anti-equal marriage rule unconstitutional 2014-11-19
Marriage begins Thursday at noon in South Carolina 2014-11-19
Veteran killed; Perry disrupted; Collins honored 2014-11-19
ASK LAMBDA LEGAL Veterans' marriage benefits 2014-11-18
Michigan says gay marriages void after appellate decision 2014-11-16
Court denies South Dakota's motion to dismiss marriage suit 2014-11-14
Lambda, ACLU ask Supreme Court to review Ohio marriage cases 2014-11-14
Federal Judge Strikes Down South Carolina Marriage Ban 2014-11-12
Marriage now allowed in Kansas; Elton's foundation's grants 2014-11-12
6th Circuit upholds marriage bans: Tenn., Ohio, Mich. and Ky. 2014-11-06
Lambda sues Social Security on behalf of gay Chicago widower 2014-11-06
Missouri marriage ban ruled unconstitutional 2014-11-06
Marriage Equality USA releases updated map 2014-11-05
Crafty Broads makes weddings manageable 2014-11-05
BOOK REVIEW The Marriage Act: The Risk I Took... 2014-11-05
Photo book documents 1980s same-sex couples 2014-11-05
Celebrations: Weddings 2014-11-05
Hazing conviction; Barney lauds Cruz; Windsor's request 2014-11-04
Federal judge affirms the freedom to marry in Kansas 2014-11-04
ELECTIONS 2014 Marriage equality: How they voted 2014-10-29
Melissa Etheridge: On marriage, performing 2014-10-29
Anti-gay group's Glenn Stanton talks bigotry, marriage 2014-10-29
Egalite Chicago forum on LGBT activism post marriage equality 2014-10-28
Fed govt to recognize same-sex married couples in six new states 2014-10-25
Oberweis: Would support federal marriage equality law 2014-10-23
Laramie Project; Boy George; Library exhibit on marriage 2014-10-22
District Court dismisses suit seeking marriage in Puerto Rico 2014-10-21
President Obama: Constitution guarantees right to marry 2014-10-21
Focus on the Family's Glenn Stanton talks bigotry, marriage 2014-10-18
Federal judge rules for marriage equality in Wyoming 2014-10-17
Federal judge strikes down Arizona marriage ban 2014-10-17
Library exhibit: Gay cartoonist's view of same-sex marriage 2014-10-16
Task Force changes name; marriage news; Notre Dame 2014-10-14
HRC scores 113th Congress; Alaska marries; WH looks at AIDS, violence 2014-10-13
New studies estimate LGBT population, married couples 2014-10-13
Supreme Court: Stunning progress 2014-10-12
Federal judge affirms the freedom to marry in Alaska 2014-10-12
Federal district court in North Carolina strikes down ban 2014-10-09





Copyright © 2014 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
the online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.

 

 

 



 

Federal judge: Montana's anti-equal marriage rule unconstitutional
 
TRAVEL Eureka Springs, Ark.: Living on mountain time
 
National Women's Hall of Fame hosts forum in Chicago
 
DISH: SAVOR Old Crow Smokehouse; Kokopelli
 
Leaving a legacy: Danny Kopelson reflects on Hall of Fame life
 
Windy City Times Current DownloadNightspots Current DownloadQueercast Current Download
Windy City Media Group BlogsJoin Our Email List!Donate Now








  News Index   About WCMG    Publications    Bars & Clubs     Calendar   Videos   Advertisers    OUT! Guide    Classifieds     AIDS @ 32       Marriage
 Local | National | World | Politics | Obits | Profiles | Views | Entertainment | Theater | Dance | Music | Film | Art | Books | TV/Gossip
 Travel | History | Marriage | Youth | Trans | Lesbian | Celebrations | Food | Nightlife | Sports | Health | Real Estate | Autos | Pets | Crime



About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Subscriptions      Distribution      Windy City Queercast     
Queercast Archives      Advertising  Rates      Deadlines      Advanced Search     
Press  Releases      Event Photos      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Post an Event      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Blogs      Spotlight  Video      News Videos      Nightspots Videos      Entertainment Videos      Queercast Videos      Comedy Videos     
Classifieds      Real Estate      Place a  Classified     

Windy City Media Group produces Windy City Queercast, & publishes Windy City Times,
The Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community,
Nightspots, Out! Resource Guide, and Identity.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.