City of Asheville moves toward same-sex domestic partner benefits for employees

After about 90 minutes of public comment and deliberation on Feb. 9, Asheville City Council voted 4-2 to support a motion by Council member Gordon Smith supporting benefits for city employees in same-sex domestic relationships. While the vote does not implement benefits such as health insurance and bereavement leave already afforded to straight married couples, it does mean city staff will conduct a financial impact study and other research and make a recommendation for Council vote in March.

According to Smith’s request, that vote could put domestic partnership benefits in place starting in 2011. Extending such benefits, Smith said, would help recruit and retain good employees for the city and increase gay and lesbian tourism. Click here for documents from Smith’s presentation.

About 25 people spoke during the public comment period, most in favor of the move, including several city employees.

Asheville Police Department officer Kathleen Beane said she wants equal benefits in order to be able to provide for her partner and their daughter. “It really does make me feel of less value that I can’t provide the same protection to my family that other people can,” she told Council.

Episcopal Reverend Hamilton Fuller noted that, while there are religious and personal opinions surrounding the issue, the discussion should not be based in faith. “That is not for this venue and not why I am here to speak,” Fuller said. “This is a liberty and civil rights and justice issue.”

“The last thing the government needs to be involved with is telling people how to live and who to love,” said restaurateur Dwight Butner.

Religion did factor into the comments of Rev. Keith Ogden of Hill Street Baptist Church, who denounced the idea.

“I have to give a theological position because I have a calling in my life. I didn’t choose it. The homosexual lifestyle … that’s a lifestyle choice.” Ogden said. The acceptance of gays and lesbians, he said, is akin to “selling your soul to the devil. Asheville is on its way to Hades in a hand-basket.”

Council member Cecil Bothwell countered that, while there are some churches that denounce homosexuality, there are others that welcome gays and lesbians into their churches.

“There’s no one religious position,” he said. As for the complaint that taxpayers are forced to foot the bill, Bothwell said, “There is a homosexual population here and they are being forced to pay benefits for straight people in this town.”

Council member Esther Manheimer said Asheville should be a city that seeks to bring in the economic impact of the gay and lesbian community. “The gay community votes with its dollars,” Manheimer said. “And they are an economic force to be reckoned with.”

But Council member Jan Davis and Mayor Terry Bellamy both aired concerns with the process of how the issue came to Council and unknowns about the results of the move.

“I’m asked to support something that I don’t have the background of how we are going to pay for it,” Davis said.

Bellamy said the issue was bigger than the group that addressed it in Council chambers, and that there should be some acceptance of differing opinions. Bellamy also suggested that health care should not be a political decision before going on to say she wouldn’t back the idea then or later. “I’m not going to support it now and I’m not going to support it when it comes back with [more] information,” she said.

The measure passed in a 4-2 vote with Bothwell, Manheimer, Smith and Vice Mayor Brownie Newman voting “yes,” Davis and Bellamy voting “no” and Council member Bill Russell absent. City staff will come back to Council with its research and a recommendation on March 9, the same day Council conducts a special work session addressing the city’s health care costs.

Brian Postelle, staff writer

 

 

 

 

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68 thoughts on “City of Asheville moves toward same-sex domestic partner benefits for employees

  1. J

    I don’t understand something.

    I’m assuming that gay and lesbian employees of the City will obtain health care benefits for their partners via contracts with the City.

    It’s illegal to discriminate based on sexual orientation. Thus, if a heterosexual couple wanted to obtain benefits from the City in the same manner, under equal protection, they could.

    Just curious if that’s the case, or if I’m missing some information.

  2. Sage

    It’s too bad such a welcoming city has such a hateful bigot for Mayor.

    Terry Bellamy should be ashamed of her attitude. But apparently she is too stupid or prejudiced to understand inequality staring her in the face.

  3. Pitchforks & Torches

    Before anyone flames me, I love ALL people and fully accept GL community. You say you wish for equal rights, yet you come at everything wanting special treatment. That is not equal rights, that is special treatment. I feel that this issue is unfairly represented by people who say WE are unfairly treating people.

    The lifestyle is a CHOICE. If Gordy the blogger states religious beliefs should not be allowed as an argument, which is an ideological concept, WHY the heck should we allow you to tell us we HAVE TO DO THIS. Your idea is also based on ideology. Your document offered ONLY that as a reason NOT to extend benefits (isn’t that ideology?), shows your lack of ability to look deeply at BOTH SIDES of something. You only pad it with favoring facts. You are an ideology based individual, what’s next, free healthcare for the illegal residents of a Sanctuary City, that Cecil the clown has set as a priority goal for Asheville in 2010 (he only desires us to be a Sanctuary City, hasn’t floated free healthcare as of YET)? I find it funny he tried to counter the religious argument…. Hey Gordy, IT IS NOT YOUR DUTY, OR THE CITY’S DUTY TO COMPETE WITH PRIVATE INDUSTRY (as you clowns talk about job creation). Stop comparing Asheville to bigger city’s with larger tax bases, and please be reasonable with citing which companies offer benefits as they are actual VERY LARGE BUSINESSES that generate significant revenue. People like you are killing our society and destroying businesses. Did you know that government based jobs actually MAKE more than private sector jobs? Here again, your views are ONE SIDED and lack true scrutiny (isn’t that funny I used your bloggy name). http://www.usatoday.com/printedition/news/20091211/1afedpay11_st.art.htm?loc=interstitialskip

    Maybe you should get your facts together before your psycho babble ideology gets ahead of you, wait, it already has. You lack the business knowledge to come at this from a ‘business perspective’. Being able to pad a PowerPoint does not make you a respected businessman, my child can make a PowerPoint, and has since elementary school but does a better job of presenting compelling facts on both sides.

    Hey Gordy, Are you Gay? I believe we can ask that now and it be OK? Is this your return the favor for getting the GL vote in Asheville in order to get you a seat on council to push an agenda? Along with the greenie vote? I am so glad you are practicing transparency on SOME issues as we can see right through this one…

    Folks, isn’t it time to get people out of our city council who have control over money that lack ANY ability to be fair and objective on issues regarding the spending of our money. Please, someone tutor the clowns about the term fiscal responsibility, and the fact that we should only be discussing issues of providing CRITICAL SERVICES to the citizens.

    Your ideological rose glasses are standing in the way of getting the real business done. FINAL QUESTION GORDY – If you want people to have the benefits, yet are not in a legally binding arrangement(BY LAW), WHY then are boyfriends/girlfriends/unmarried people with children (out of wedlock) of city employees who are NOT married (again BY LAW)ineligible to gain the SAME benefits you are pushing for GL??!! we have never heard you FIGHTING for the non GL folks. There is a reason for that, and it is related to COST (again, educate these clowns please, SCORE or someone offer a free class to these people)

    Ahh, there is the special treatment thing again… You must think “we the people are too stupid”, or “too close minded” not to see through this. Back in the barrel, let the rodeo continue!

    Flame away people. But please, do not come back and say “P&T hates gay people” or as barry will call me “The Mob”. I am just someone who pays taxes, pays for health insurance on my own (and at pretty hefty price tag)and is sick and tired of being forced to see my beloved city blinded by ideology.

    THANK YOU MAYOR for stating the fact you are not comfortable on how this was presented to council. I am proud of your honesty to confront something without concern of upsetting the apple cart. YOU give me hope.

  4. Brian Postelle

    @J.:

    The jury is still out on whether governments will, in the future, continue to be able to provide benefits to gay and lesbian couples but not to unmarried straight couples. A look at policy across the country reveals cases of governments providing benefits in both cases.

    Legal challenges to policies isolating gay and lesbian couples are still being sorted out, and precedent has not yet been established.

    Under Smith’s suggestion, straight domestic partners would not be included because they have the option to marry.

    My understanding is that Bothwell has said he would prefer to see benefits extended in both cases.

    Brian

  5. Barry Summers

    The high point for me came when two uniformed Asheville police officers spoke in favor of this change. Think of the bravery it took to stand up in front of your bosses & the whole community & speak your heart like that. These men & women risk their lives for us every day, but we currently deny them the same financial benefits that their heterosexual co-workers receive for the same job. That’s a wrong that needs to be righted.

  6. Barry Summers

    On a separate note, can someone verify something for me? Was I hallucinating, or did City Council actually vote to interview Tony Fraga for a seat on the Downtown Commission? Millionaire out-of-state developer, who doesn’t even live in Asheville is being considered for a seat on a City Commission that reviews and approves developments, like the one he put forward two years ago that got shot down by an earlier City Council?

  7. Pitchforks & Torches

    “My understanding is that Bothwell has said he would prefer to see benefits extended in both cases. ” – This is a HUGE can of worms. COST. Yes, and Cecil’s immediate reaction to ANYTHING seems to be ” I am ok with raising taxes”. Well, let me tell you what, we pay enough taxes already, and if you will not address small things to reduce budgetary costs, why should we give you the ability to spend whatever you want? On average we pay $10K-$16K per year for a family (married with children)to be insured within our business, plus our business pays taxes, property taxes, local taxes, state taxes, federal taxes, communications taxes, and it seems as if we can’t pay our employees more because of all the taxes, and even have considered cutting our health insurance because of the costs we can’t recoup. And Cecil could care less about who it gives it to and how much it will cost.. Folks, these are the people spending your money. How about this, FOR ALL NON MARRIED people working for the city, you can have the option of PAYING FOR IT YOURSELF, out of pocket for an additional spouse/significant other/friend with benefits/lover/guy off the street who needs healthcare??? Why should we bear the burden of OTHER people’s life choices (whether they are married or not, could marry, can’t marry). The cost would be MORE affordable than buying it off the street as they could benefit from the larger pool buying power. But noooo, that is not a good enough option because it just makes sense. Instead, your so hel*-bent on Idealogical driven pursuits you are blind to any option other than the one that floats your boat or puports your feelings that GL folks deserve more than others. By stating, we will just give it to non marrieds as well shows you are willing , AT ANY COST, to move your GL agenda down everyone’s throats, and at OUR expense. Has anyone inquired to the city’s insurance company IF they would even consider underwriting folks not directly related? Probably not…. And Esther, if “GL vote with their pocketbooks”, does that make US, the tax payers (non GL) any less important because we too vote with our pocketbooks… Special treatment…

  8. Piffy!

    [b]Before anyone flames me, I love ALL people and fully accept GL community. You say you wish for equal rights, yet you come at everything wanting special treatment. That is not equal rights, that is special treatment. I feel that this issue is unfairly represented by people who say WE are unfairly treating people.[/b]

    It’s great how you give that caveat before you flame and bash a whole lot of people, angry mob.

    If you “fully accept” the “GL community”, I don’t think you would write such a long, bigoted screed about how horribly manipulative ‘they’ are.

    Oh, and it was a great touch to complain about how much your private health insurance costs while you bash any concept of Public Insurance. You’re a freaking genius, lady.

  9. Pitchforks & Torches

    BS – yes, they do risk life and limb. Why couldn’t they then take out a life isurance policy outside the city, and name their partner as the beneficiary? First off, it is THEIR choice to become a police officer, and it is THEIR choice to live their life as they see fit. It is not a critical servcie to the citizens to offer benefits to foklks who choose their CHOICE of lifestyle. It’s a can of worms. You should be able to WILL anything you wish to anyone, and some sort of arrangement befitting of critical care issues (living will). This is federal and state legislative issues, not city council who can barley pay the bills, or budget enough money for multiple snow storms to clear the roads. But maybe, because we have some GL folks (who are very nice) on our road, they might consider plowing it for them because it is not fair if they can’t get out. It’s discrimination….

  10. Barry Summers

    Another interesting moment came when Terry Bellamy spoke – she was visibly enraged over being put in the position of voting against this, and got into a little pissing match with Esther Manheimer over it. Might hurt her chances for Congress, I guess, I don’t know.

    But she brought a City staffer up to verify that indeed, the City already offers special ‘benefits’ (I believe she used that word) to LGBT employees. 10 or 15 years ago, the City adopted a rule saying that people couldn’t be fired simply for being gay. Wow – that’s some ‘benefit’. The Gays should be happy with that, and not ask for any more “special rights,” like the same health insurance for their partners that everyone else gets…

  11. J

    Brian, thanks for the clarification.

    Just ramble typing, I feel like Gordon’s logic has flaw in it.

    Yes, a heterosexual City employee does have the right to marry their partner; they are however not compelled to.

    If the City moves forward and offers homosexual couples through contracts, I do not think they can deny the same treatment or privilege to anyone simply because they are heterosexual and have another avenue (marriage) to get to these benefits. In essence, the City would be affording contractual rights to one set of people based on their sexual orientation, and denying the very same contractual rights to another set of people based on their sexual orientation. I fail to see how that wouldn’t be discrimination.

    Requiring a heterosexual couple to be married to get the same benefits a homosexual couple receives through a contract (yes, there is a cruel irony here) is not equal treatment.

    While Gordon’s goal may be laudable, he shouldn’t discriminate to achieve it. If this is the route the City will go, Bothwell’s stance seems to make more sense.

  12. Pitchforks & Torches

    Pff – Just know how close-minded you are to NOT consider how OTHER people feel if it differs from your views. I did not flame anyone ( wait, i did call someone a clown) , I merely provided additional points of view negated and overlooked by the people pushing their agendas.

    How do you know I am not gay? I actually know folks that are gay and do not think marriage is a good idea (and they are actually in our family). Ouch. Oh, and they have been in a committed relationship for more than 25 years, happy, and living in the same house, and pay their own way…. Asking NO-ONE to give them special treatment, just let them live as they choose. Ya know, America, home of the free.

    And yes, someone that floats ideas with limited viewpoints should be called out, I DID NOT float the agenda, I offered a different viewpoint based on knowledge and expereince.

    I am all for health reform, but not blind reform. Hmmm, lets pay for more dental clinics to put multiple crowns in 4 year olds. Hmmm, clean up the fraud before dumpimng more money down the drain. There is that Common Sense thing again… keeps getting in the way.

    I can debate you all day on how much things cost, and how I refuse to take handouts from the government if I can pay my way, and those of my employees/families. It hurts to see so many gaming the system in has enraged me to use the name Pitchforks & Torches. Sounds like you would rather choose the path of least resistance and suck the ninny. Get off mine.

    BTW – I am a man, with a family, a business with employees and property tax bills, a home with property tax bills, and a terminally ill family member, so maybe you should stand down, and listen to some reason and not call me a bigot. And yes, I am a ‘freakin genius” because I can tell you can’t think yourself out of a wet paper bag and talk common sense on issues.

    I will refrain from arguing with people who can not muster a balanced well educated counter-point and resort to the word ‘bigot’. I suppose I could call your comments hate-filled speech, and you a bigot, but I will refrain because you obviously have nothing to stand on, or a pot to pi** in other than resorting to knee-jerk vocabulary. Go whine to Obama, he will give you some money. BTW- I am a democrat, just not a lemming democrat…

  13. Piffy!

    Rabble Rabble sure seems convinced homosexuality is a “choice”.

    she even puts it in ALL CAPS, which we all know makes it a FACT.

  14. Sage

    Sorry to burst P&T’s bubble of heterosexual supremacy but straight couples marry simply to gain benefits all the time. That’s fraudulent too but ok by you since they are first class citizens by choosing to only have sex procreatively.
    My being heterosexual is no more a “lifestyle choice” than you being heterosexual.

    Greensboro,Chapel Hill, Orange,Durham, and Mecklenburg all offer these benefits. The first three have for years and no problems have ever arisen. DP’s are offered by cities large and small nationwide.
    I feel bad for your gay neighbors. They deserve to know what a bigoted monster they have for a neighbor. You need to go knock on their door and tell them how they are ruining your life on a daily basis.

    Furthermore if you and Terry Bellamy and Jan Davis think we should remain second class than we should be compensated accordingly. Why should I as a homosexual be forced to subsidize benefits that we cannot access in any form? And continue to accept such heterosexual oppression?

    Why should gay police officers be forced to respond to a 911 call from you? You don’t believe they perform a “critical” service worthy of equal benefits. I hope they hang up on you. You don’t deserve any assistance from us “GL”‘s.

  15. Joseph Barcia

    Mayor Bellamy really disappoints me here with her refusal to support this under any circumstances, even with more information.

  16. Pitchforks & Torches

    pffy -Why should gay police officers be forced to respond to a 911 call from you? You don’t believe they perform a “critical” service worthy of equal benefits. I hope they hang up on you. You don’t deserve any assistance from us “GL”‘s.
    ———-
    Your mis-reading and waaaay offbase. The police fall under critical infrastructure, said nothing about they not being important. Also – they are on duty, not on Gay only duty. See, your close minded aran’t you. Again, your hate filled attitudes trump your ability to reason. PLUS, it has nothing to do with ME, I pay for their jobs, they are obligated, what they do on their off time is NO MATTER to me. So now you are inferring I am not important, making me a second class citizen. You people can debate the fact of choice or not choice (born with it) as it goes back and forth.

    But if you have never given these benefits to folks who do not meet criteria for their choices (unmarried OR GL), and if insurance companies will not treat those same people (unmarried) then why all of a sudden are we being stiff-armed into it, and lambasted for trying to discuss the points. You are forcing it upon us, and treating us differently than you expect to be treated. Believe it or not, you HAVE been accepted, but that is not good enough, you feel you deserve more than the next Joe and Jane just because you like Jane (or Joe). Not sure I have ever seen a “GL only bathroom” or you have been made to “ride in the back of the bus”. You are no Rosa Parks here and your cause is weaker than how the Blacks had(ve) been treated. They HAD NO CHOICE.
    ———
    second class than we should be compensated accordingly – ah, there ya go, special rights. You are not second class, you are first class citizens who have made choices which fall outside the realm of the larger majority for which things have been enacted. Let’s work something out for gosh sakes, but not start with the bigotry, and hate filled speech. Common sense aprpoaches to commons sense issues.
    ——-
    Actually my GL neighbors love us, are welcomed into our house anytime, and we routinely have civil discussions, dinner parties and the like. Unlike your ability to talk about it without using bigot, monster, and other hate filled speech. I now feel threatend by you.
    ——
    I suppose this is the point where you will bust out the term “breeder”. May I remind you, YOU came from breeders, and society supported your parents, which your parents also paid for.
    —–

    Get over it, buy your own health insurance and be done with it, just like those folks who have CHOSEN not to marry, common law relationships do not qualify for benefits so why should you? Those other folks have never called anyone out for discrimination as it is their choice.

    You are making it all about your gay, and we are not, therefore we are all bigots if we disagree with your choice. Unless you are born with both reproductive parts, then it is a choice.

    Fight amongst yourselves, and pay for things you think you are ENTITLED to when others are not entitled to it. Just because you choose live your life, PLEASE do not tread on me.

    —–

    Your insistence to your demands is heterosexual oppression. Pay your own way, keep your hands in your own pockets, or pocket book, whatever.

    And please, no more threats, you are scaring me. And I can see there is no room in your feeble mind to be open to opposing viewpoints. We HAVE accepted you already, quit pushing it or you will find a backlash and possible non acceptance. You keep pushing back your progress, not mine. Your just like the Republicans aren’t you?

    Have Asheville, it is ALL YOURS. I am sorry, I guess Asheville is a closed loop, closed minded community unwilling to discuss things with Common Sense. Sound familiar doesn’t it. With all DUE respect as a fellow human, P&T

  17. Sage

    Blah Blah Blah, any self respecting gay person would never be friends with a loon like you.

    Show these gay friends of yours the ranting and raving about how its a “choice” and see how that goes.

    The gay liberation struggle is different from the fight African Americans went through but it’s no less wrong,hateful,or pernicious.

    You need to be honest with yourself about your own bigotry. It’s healthier than being delusional.

  18. Piffy!

    Yes, angry, violent mob, I am indeed intolerant of your bigoted, hateful intolerance. But it is your CHOICE to be an ignorant, hateful bigot, so it’s okay.

    also, i was not the one who made the comment about police. Pay better attention.

  19. Barry Summers

    Hey lay off the violent angry mob. I think they have probably come a long way against significant disabilities. Imagine how difficult it must be to do even simple things that you & I take for granted, like typing, when you’re a multi-headed hive-mind with flailing arms and weapons and torches and spittle.

    Before you judge too harshly, walk a mile in their shoes, or run at night in them, with howling search dogs, and your adrenalin gland squirting like a Waterpick… Geez, poor bastards. Can we all pitch in & get them a fruitbasket, or a gift certificate to a spa?

  20. Sage

    You can complain all night and indulge your victim complex. Fact is we are discriminated against on the local,state,and federal level.

    Until that changes we will never stop pushing for equitable measures along the way. Now go tell all the GLs in Asheville how we are spend 24/7 trying to make you crazy. It’s all a master plan to ruin your life. Hide here we come!!!

    MORON

    I am done, go crawl into the mountains with all the other mouthbreathers like you and live us civilized people in Asheville alone.

  21. T100C-1970

    I agree with J.

    How does one establish that another person is an “official” partner? Are two straight guys who share an apartment allowed to claim they are homosexuals and get benefits for both if one works for a city? If not, is there a homosexuality “test” they have to pass to obtain benefits? What if they claim to be bisexual and in an open promiscuous partnership? Does that still work?

    In the sense of fairness should we not throw in polygamists?? After all polygamy has a long an honored tradition in many religions.

    Then EVERYBODY in Asheville could get benefits, and the City employees could get a nice kick back from their “partners”…

  22. Sage

    So it’s only ok for straight couple to pretend to be married and do the same thing? No one should be allowed to have benefits then.

  23. Sage

    We need to administer a heterosexuality test too.
    Since like so many other straight people you still think that you have “lives” and we only have “lifestyles”.

  24. J

    Sage,

    I think you missed T100C-1970′s point, and the satire.

    We’ll pick on Gordon, because he’s good natured.

    Gordon and Michael apply for jobs with the city. Gordon is straight, and lives with his girlfriend; Michael is gay, and lives with his boyfriend.

    Gordon and Michael are both hired by the City.

    Gordon is only offered benefits for himself, because he is not married.

    Under the new City Council proposal, Michael receives benefits for himself and his partner via a contract.

    Two people, same job, same living situation, different outcome. It’s not equal, thus, it’s discrimination. More discriminatory policies do not balance out the old discriminatory policies; think of “separate but equal”. It didn’t work.

    You have to open the contractual benefits option to all people, heterosexual or homosexual: the Bothwell approach.

    The question is, how do you prevent abuse? What stops someone from just claiming a friend or a roommate for benefits purposes? Just because there’s potential fraud in another area doesn’t justify allowing fraud in a new system.

    By the way, you can’t pretend to be married. You have to list your marital status on your tax returns, and the IRS frowns upon being lied to. They make it rather expensive.

  25. joeinmadco

    I don’t even know or care if homosexuality is a choice. I don’t know or care if heterosexuality is a choice. It doesn’t matter. One person wants to live with and possibly spend the rest of their life with another person, well, that means something. If we’re going to give straight people a job-related benefit for making that commitment, then we have to do the same for a committed gay couple. Unfortunately, our society is too whacked to allow gay folks the mechanism of marriage to establish this commitment, so we have to enact less-than-perfect measures like this at the local level. Until the bigots and blindly religious give up their little crusade on this issue, I’m gonna support motions like this one.

  26. Barry Summers

    What stops someone from just claiming a friend or a roommate for benefits purposes?

    I don’t remember the specifics, but I know they are talking about verification mechanisms like requiring shared bank accounts, notarized statements claiming a permanent/committed relationship, shared utility bills, those sort of things. That’s the type of detail the City’s HR staff is researching and will present to Council. You won’t be able to just casually add somebody to your City benefits package.

  27. Pitchforks & Torches

    J, forget it, these people are too close minded to grasp any concept other than the ‘woe is me attitude’ and if you are not with us, you are againstt us…. Soon they will want special parking privelages because handicap folks get them.
    joimadco – less than perfect measures still boils down to some get special rights. And please, enough with the word ‘bigot’. PLEASE do not assume all people are grounding their point of view as a religious one. Isn’t there a middle somewhere in theis entire issue? Obviously not, because both spew hate and avoid civil discussion. Sage firmly beleives I am a bigot because I have a point of view that differs from her/his/its. So because I am not ready to settle for ‘less than perfect measures’, I am some ‘bigot’

  28. joeinmadco

    Pitchforks, I wasn’t calling you a bigot. I was referring to people in general who want to deny the rights each one of us is granted equally in a supposed free society. If you’re not a bigot, then it shouldn’t bother you.

    Look, I don’t see it as special rights. Try rereading my comment. Gay folks do not have the option of getting married in NC. And that doesn’t make any sense to me. So we have to remedy that situation locally, to the best of our ability. Do you have any better solutions to this obvious inequality?

  29. Barry Summers

    joeinmadco asks: Do you have any better solutions to this obvious inequality?

    The angry mob has already advised gays to: Get over it, buy your own health insurance and be done with it

    See, the gays have the right to get gouged in the free market. They don’t need or deserve the “special rights” to the same financial benefits as straights.

  30. Butterflies & Puppies & Common Sense

    Joe, I agree, there NEEDS to be a solution to the civil union thing, call it garriage if you will. I still think an option would be to allow GL folks (along with domestic partners, un-married partners raising children) the ability to BUY a separate policy at their own expense. My BEEF is merely with the fact we have to pay more in taxes for special treatment if they demand to be covered under the same policy paid for by tax citizens. My BEEF is distributed equally to the GL and unmarried folks. I have tried to float the idea, but I am a bigot because of it, and the GL folks have not even replied to the question, just the same old bigot, hater stuff. I suppose I am more of a cheap-skate if anything. It does not hurt me, actually I love seeing what they can come up with at this point. Backwoods mouthbreather is the leading one so far.

    BUT, it is so hard to try and discuss things and ask for clarification if you are being screamed at with hate filled verbiage, being called a mouthbreather (for pete’s sake!). We will never get passed step one without civil discussion. Sure, I use ALL CAPS once an awhile, but I have never called anyone anything (except a clown), I just question their approach, their reasoning, and their facts, and for that I am a fanatical religious zealot hate monger monster who the GL community should not respond to if I call 911. I changed my name here so they could no longer call me the ‘violent angry mob’. I thought my new name is warm, fuzzy, and ends in common sense. Thanks for a civil communication Joe.

  31. FYI, Council did not vote to interview Tony Fraga. Jan Davis put forward his name as an interviewee.

    The Boards and Commissions Committee reviews applications and recommends names for direct approval (usually if there is one outstanding applicant), or names for interviews before Council chooses. If the Committee overlooks someone for interview whom a Council member believes should be interviewed, the name is added to the interview list without a vote.

  32. Butterflies & Puppies & Common Sense

    BS- Once again, you lead with ‘angry mob’, please see that i changed my name to appeal to your friendly side in hopes of civil discussion sans the HATE. If you read my long winded messages (yes I know), in there I ASKED about, what if we offered a means to buy a policy using the city’s buying power pool. I also stated that non married raising children, domestic partners, or whatever fits should qualify (after all you want fairness and equality). Like I just posted to Joe, I am a cheap-skate not a hate filled person you paint me as. I do not think it is right to have to pay for people choices, lifestyles, or other stuff. Why do you think insurance companies will not underwrite sky-divers, it is their choice to jump out of planes and why should everyone else be required to cover it??? So please step back from your pedestal of HATE, and open your mind a bit wider than your cause alone. If not, you want special rights for special people and the cover is blown off your rants and demands. And for pete’s sake, my views are NOT grounded in religion, so please step back from that as well, or you again paint yourself as a small minded indivudual showing your a**, Signed with kisses and hugs, Butterfies & Puppies & Common Sense

    One more thing – I would LOVE to be able to buy into your larger pool we are asking about, but I am neither gay, nor work for the government, I actually EMPLOY people and am getting gouged in the free market because I am not part of a union like many government workers are. So when i am paying for other peoples care and paying more and getting less for my employees/family’s care, I AM a cheap-skate and mad as hel*. I have a terminally ill person in my family, and you are demanding special rights? Walk a mile in my shoes pal and you might open your mind and tighten your wallet… Again, Signed with kisses and hugs, Butterfies & Puppies & Common Sense

  33. Also FYI, I hope the Staff report will include estimates concerning extending all benefits to all qualified people based on criteria not including gender or gender orientation. It seems to me that the issue of pay equality and fairness extends across the board, though I understand the reasoning of those metropolitan governments which limit benefits to married or same-sex partners.

    Cost is an obvious issue, and contrary to M. Pitchfork I do not advocate raising taxes as a cure-all for anything. But cost does not seem to be a reasonable argument to deny benefits based on arbitrary classification choices. If costs are excessive for benefits, then benefits or premiums might need to be adjusted for everyone, but that is separate discussion from who deserves benefits, IMHO.

  34. Barry Summers

    Hey, listen up Gays. The angry mob (in an attempt to get you to drop your guard, now wearing WalMart smiley-face masks) has offered a solution:

    I agree, there NEEDS to be a solution to the civil union thing, call it garriage if you will.

    You can come out of the closet now, & move your stuff into the garriage, next to the lawn mower.

  35. Barry Summers

    BS- Once again, you lead with ‘angry mob’, please see that i changed my name to appeal to your friendly side in hopes of civil discussion sans the HATE.

    Mob, if you want a civil discussion, stop referring to homosexuality as a “lifestyle choice” akin to jumping out of an airplane.

    Stop referring to the attempt to level the playing field as somehow seeking “special rights”. These are made-up terms (like “Death Tax”) meant to distort and polarize an issue, until people can’t discuss things rationally (which is precisely the purpose). “Special Rights”… If Frank Luntz had been around in the 50s-60s, they would used this language against those seeking “Civil Rights” for African-Americans. It’s not a “special right” if you’re simply asking for what everyone else gets.

    This is why people are mad at you, mob-like puppet. It’s the cynical and dishonest way you are waging your attack on people simply asking for fairness. It’s too bad that you feel backed into a corner & therefore justified in playing dirty. Equal rights for LGBT folk are coming, it’s just a matter of how painful people like you are determined to make it.

    And you can drop the sweetness and light routine. Rush Limbaugh ruined that one for you when he insisted that he is a “harmless, lovable little fuzzball.” It shows a disdain and thinly veiled contempt for those who disagree with you.

  36. Jon Elliston

    Sage:

    Thanks for joining the discussion, but please desist from any name-calling, like “moron” or “mouthbreather.” We’re trying to keep this discussion civil.

    Jon Elliston, Mountain Xpress

  37. Butterflies & Puppies & Common Sense

    BS- Once again, you could not offer anything but defamatory comments, hate related accusations, and once again could not find it in your head to discuss issues. It is a fact that insurers will not underwrite anything and everything. I NEVER, repeat NEVER said a GL person, lifestyle is akin to jumping out of an airplane. Just stated pure business facts, but maybe we should reduce the comments to making sentences in play-doh for the simple minds who refuse to see a question for what it is.

    BTW – You obviously know more about rush limbaugh than I do… Therefore you are used to trading hate back and forth.

    BTW- I am not sure they are mad at me, i think they are laughing at you. Do you have a Cecil tattoo?

    THANK YOU Jon, I was really getting tired to trying have a conversation without hate in it.

  38. Butterflies & Puppies & Common Sense

    I figured it out! Barry, you are one of the troops sent out with the HATE paintbrush to paint everyone who wants a discussion! Point your Ire towards the real religious zealots, not me. I haven’t been to church in 25+ years cause I do not always beleive in their methods! You actually have more a friend in me if I am willing to discuss points and facts. Not available with your twisted means of discussion though.. You have turned the corner of comical and further away from fair discussion. Guess Sage finally ran away from honest discussion when discourse stop working for her/him. Still have not answerd the questions we have posed have you? Just more rants and tirades about how hateful YOU think I am. Please change your name to “Hate Painter, artist of intolerance and ideology” or is that taken by someone already.

  39. artart

    If you think about it, it is totally absurd that one’s employer provide any paid benefits to anyone other than the employee. It totally goes against the concept of equal pay for equal work. The problem here is not the denial of benefits to gay couples, but the provision of any benefits to other than the actual worker. Why should one who is married effectively receive higher renumeration than one who choses to be single?

    It is discriminatory against single people to effectively pay married people or even gay couples more in totaly renumeration.

  40. joeinmadco

    pitchpuppies, I don’t think your solution addresses the issues of equality and rights. If you’re mainly concerned with the financial aspect of this situation and you still want to be fair, here’s what your solution should be: withdraw benefits for all city employees. Not that I think that’s necessarily a good idea, but at least it would be logically, constitutionally, and ethically consistent.

    Otherwise, I’m thinking that your rhetoric is an attempt to disguise a different agenda.

  41. Pixiedyke

    I am for homosexuality tests in any and all situations. I do way better than on Algebra tests.

    Also, a point that has yet to be made in this discussion is the reason that the city extends benefits to spouses of anyone at all. They do it to recruit the best and brightest to work for the city of Asheville. And if that is the case, don’t we want the best and brightest homos as well as the best and brightest unmarried straight people?

  42. Barry Summers

    I NEVER, repeat NEVER said a GL person, lifestyle is akin to jumping out of an airplane.

    OK. Coulda sworn you said this, from your 10:34 post above:

    I do not think it is right to have to pay for people choices, lifestyles, or other stuff. Why do you think insurance companies will not underwrite sky-divers, it is their choice to jump out of planes and why should everyone else be required to cover it???

    Sorry I whipped you up there, mob. I don’t think we’re going to be able to have a sensible discussion. Have a nice day.

  43. Butterflies & Puppies & Common Sense

    Just like someone’s choice not to marry. Unwed parents. It is so painfully obvious this has nothing to do with the insurance, just another screaming match with a bunch of entitlement sucking whiners demanding their civil rights are being violated and ANY example you can get your little hands on to ram it through every legaslative branch you can until it changes the world. Woe is freaking me, you act as if you have been enslaved. Your obvious method is a direct mirror of the anti-abortion right wing you so devile. Hilaroious. Here, i am sure you can find something filled with hate in the following sentence to avoid intelligent discussion. Have a nice day.

  44. Jessica B.

    Pitchforks & Torches (appropriate name) says: J, forget it, these people are too close minded to grasp any concept other than the ‘woe is me attitude’ and if you are not with us, you are againstt us…. Soon they will want special parking privelages because handicap folks get them.
    joimadco – less than perfect measures still boils down to some get special rights. And please, enough with the word ‘bigot’. PLEASE do not assume all people are grounding their point of view as a religious one. Isn’t there a middle somewhere in theis entire issue? Obviously not, because both spew hate and avoid civil discussion. Sage firmly beleives I am a bigot because I have a point of view that differs from her/his/its. So because I am not ready to settle for ‘less than perfect measures’, I am some ‘bigot’”

    As soon as you see the buzzwords “special rights”, you know where the person is coming from. No, not bigoted, just don’t like “those” people, right? And while you might not be a bigot, you do qualify as rude, referring to someone as “it”.

    Just curious, since you believe sexual orientation is a choice, when exactly did you choose to be straight?

  45. Piffy!

    i only used the word bigot to describe the angry mob. Seemed appropo, considering her bigoted attitude.

    Bigot
    Function: noun
    Etymology: French, hypocrite, bigot
    Date: 1660

    : a person obstinately or intolerantly devoted to his or her own opinions and prejudices; especially : one who regards or treats the members of a group (as a racial or ethnic group) with hatred and intolerance

  46. Piffy!

    [b]Otherwise, I’m thinking that your rhetoric is an attempt to disguise a different agenda. [/b]

    Really? i don’t think the agenda is hidden at all. Seems fair that, since they can’t legally marry, they should find this middle-ground. I’m pretty sure that’s the only ‘agenda’. so, until then, give em ‘same-sex partner benefits’, if they can pass all reasonable tests that would define a committed couple.

    Personally, i think they should just be allowed to get married and end all this.

  47. joeinmadco

    Yeah, pff, I agree with you 100 percent. But hey, I was giving pitchpuppies the benefit of the doubt that he really did care about the financial aspects of the situation. Sometimes people have a hard time communicating their position in a clear way.

  48. travelah

    To prevent fraud, all they need to do is require a marriage certificate. Private employers require it when enrolling in most benefit plans. … see how simple it can be?

  49. travelah

    Just curious, since you believe sexual orientation is a choice, when exactly did you choose to be straight?

    Officially, when I was 14 .. unoffically, some time before that.

  50. Piffy!

    [b]Officially, when I was 14 .. unoffically, some time before that. [/b]

    So, before that, you may have actually been homosexual?

  51. Piffy!

    [b]To prevent fraud, all they need to do is require a marriage certificate. Private employers require it when enrolling in most benefit plans. … see how simple it can be? [/b]

    Unfortunately, religious zealots lobby against them being able to get such a certificate.

    http://travelah.blogspot.com/

  52. Barry Summers

    I don’t think you will find anything on that site opposing civil unions between any couple and that is all I would require.

    How convenient. North Carolina doesn’t allow civil unions.

  53. Piffy!

    Travelah is avoiding the more important question of what his sexuality was before he chose to be ‘straight’.

    Did he ponder homosexuality first, so as to make a more educated decision? Did he experiment with arbor/human love? How does one ‘choose’ heterosexuality?

  54. Piffy!

    we’re discussing ‘orientation’, not activity.

    and youre wrong. rape is not a choice for the victim.

  55. travelah

    No, we are discussing sexual activity. You can discuss orientation with yourself. I am right. Rape is not a sexual activity for any victim. It is a sexual activity for most rapists. I might not approve of your viewpoint but I can understand it.

  56. Can’t imagine that we would exclude celibates of any orientation, or have any way of establishing a test of sexual activity. Heck, even Jimmy Carter “lusted in my heart” and that sort of thing blurs the line between orientation and muscle fiber.

  57. Betty Cloer Wallace

    Travelah wrote: “All sexual activity is by choice.”

    Yes, sexual activity is usually by choice, but sexuality/gender/orientation is hard-wired soon after conception—big difference. But neither of these truths is the issue under debate.

    The issue before the City Council is one of fairness and equality of benefits for employees and their extended families.

    The stance of the videotaped Baptist ministers is also an issue of fairness and equality in that such churches are the only tax-exempt organizations that can still blatantly practice exclusion and subjugation of groups of people on the basis of gender, e.g. not allowing women and GLBT to serve on boards and in positions of leadership in those churches, church schools, and other church enterprises—and that is a large chunk of change for taxpayers to be financially underwriting.

  58. Jessica B.

    Travelah says: “Officially, when I was 14 .. unoffically, some time before that.”

    So, you’re saying that “unofficially”, you were originally sexually attracted to other males or to both males and females equally, choosing heterosexuality as a teenager, after originally being homosexual or bisexual?

  59. JWTJr

    “Yes, sexual activity is usually by choice, but sexuality/gender/orientation is hard-wired soon after conception—big difference.”

    Betty – I’m for gay marriage, however there is no evidence for what you say here. I know plenty of gay people and they argue about it being hardwired or a choice. I personally believe nature is so diverse that both scenarios happen.

    The biggest study ever is taking place right now with a couple of hundred sets of twins where one is gay and one is not. The results of that study will be telling.

  60. Betty Cloer Wallace

    JWT,Jr, I agree with you in that “nature is so diverse that both scenarios happen.” Twins can be hard-wired differently, but the Pastor Ogdens of this world argue that everyone “chooses” his sexuality, his “predilections and proclivities.” There is plenty of evidence to debunk that kind of stance, which is the basis of much discrimination.

    One of my favorite bisexual friends says that he can be “lustful” toward both men and women, but that the only “emotional” attachments he has ever made have been with other men. How’s that for complexity of human nature?

    Bisexual persons do have choices, and aren’t they lucky!

  61. JWTJr

    “There is plenty of evidence to debunk that kind of stance, which is the basis of much discrimination.”

    Unfortunately, there is not. That is the purpose of the study.

  62. “Why should one who is married effectively receive higher renumeration than one who choses to be single?” – artart

    I have never understood why people receive any extra benefits(including tax benefits)for being married, you would think the benefit of a loving relationship would be enough.

  63. Alan Ditmore

    I agree with JMAC that those concerned with costs have the valid and taxmoney saving alternative of eliminating all family benefits, perhaps with using the money saved to increase pay and perhaps not. This is just as fair to gays, fair to single and childless employees as well, and saves tax money (and environmental impact) immediately instead of only after seeing a resulting increase in the proportion of gay employees or residents.
    But opposing councillors have failed to make this counterproposal and so can only be basing their opposition on pure bigotry.

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