During her last campaign, Mayor Terry Bellamy avoided taking a position on whether or not the city should provide same-sex domestic-partner benefits to its employees. At last night’s Asheville City Council meeting, she left little doubt to where she stood, stating her opposition to such benefits and voting against pursuing them. Does Bellamy’s vote help or harm your opinion of the mayor?
In an Xpress questionnaire before last year’s primary election, Bellamy declined to say whether she would support or oppose the benefits, instead asserting that city employees’ benefits already exceed the state requirements.
“The city currently exceeds the Federal Family Leave Act requirements by offering Family Leave to employees, which can be used for any family member (including domestic partners),” Bellamy wrote. “Additionally, the city adheres to the state’s law on medical insurance offerings for employees.”
Last night, after a presentation by Council member Gordon Smith, Council voted 4-2 in support of domestic-partner benefits. While the vote does not implement the benefits, it indicates Council’s support for the concept. City staff will investigate the matter, craft a resolution and return it to Council for a vote in March. Along with Bellamy, Council member Jan Davis voted against the concept, stating he didn’t feel he had adequate background on the cost it might entail.
Bellamy was clear about her opposition to the benefits, in concept or otherwise, stating: “I’m not going to support the motion. I’m not going to support it now and I’m not going to support it when the information comes back.”
Voters overwhelmingly supported Bellamy’s bid for re-election last year. Readers, how does her stance against the provision of same-sex domestic-partnership benefits affect your opinion of her as mayor? If the election were held today, would you vote differently?
— David Forbes, staff writer