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Top Stories This Week in the Chronicle.
February 3, 2006

University of Toledo board approves partner benefits

Toledo--The University of Toledo on January 30 approved a benefits package for three of its unions that includes health coverage for domestic partners.

The American Association of University Professors, Communications Workers of America Local 4319 and the University of Toledo Police Patrolman�s Association, which all bargain together for health benefits, have already approved the contract. Local 4319 and the professors ratified it on January 26, while the police union gave it the nod earlier in the week.

The 5-2 vote of the board of trustees makes the University of Toledo the sixth state university to provide domestic partner benefits. The university had promised to offer them earlier but reneged following the 2004 approval of the state�s constitutional ban on same-sex marriage and other sanctioned relationships, claiming they could not afford to defend the benefits in court.

The contract calls for the benefits to begin on the first day of the month after an open period, within 30 days of contract ratification. Benefits might begin as early as March 1, depending on how soon the open enrollment period is and how long it lasts.

Ohio State University, Cleveland State, Youngstown State, Ohio University and Miami University already offered the benefits.

Miami is currently facing a suit challenging its benefits. State Rep. Thomas Brinkman, backed by an Arizona anti-gay group, claims that they violate the marriage ban amendment.

Butler County Common Pleas Judge Charles L. Pater on January 9 allowed two lesbian Miami employees and their partners to join with the university, represented by the gay and lesbian Lambda Legal Defense Fund.

Two Ohio appeals courts ruled in December that the amendment does not invalidate protections for unmarried couples in Ohio�s domestic violence laws. No court, however, has yet ruled on the effect of the amendment on domestic partner benefits offered by state schools or municipalities.


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