Ballard, according to media reports, has concerns over the proposal believing that it will give straight couples in Indianapolis a reason not to marry. Reports say (and he's not denying it) the Mayor is trying to strike out language that would make the proposal apply to opposite sex couples and make it only a same-sex couple ordinance if passed. This would likely cause most of the Republicans and maybe a couple of Democrats supporting the measure currently to vote against the proposal.
So, that raises the question: how often do people get married for benefits only? I'm sure it happens. I know there are definitely "marriages of convenience" out there. I really don't think that's germane to this ordinance, though. I don't think this will cause a significant change in the rate of people joining in holy matrimony. Pretty much, if you want to get married; you will get married. If not, you won't. Benefits aren't going to change that. This just opens another door for some couples that meet very specific requirements to get benefits from the City of Indianapolis. The financial benefits of marriage still outweigh any benefits this proposal would allow qualifying couples to receive from the city.To see the rest of the article, click here.
|Councilor Angela Mansfield, sponsor of|
domestic partnership benefits proposal.
I think Jon has the politics of this issue wrong. If same sex couples could get married, the domestic partner benefit measure would never have gotten off the ground in the first place. The whole reason for the ordinance is to compensate for the state's discriminatory treatment of same sex couples when it comes to marriage. There are a lot of Republicans, like myself and apparently Mayor Ballard, who believe strongly in traditional marriage but do not like to see it denied to same sex couples who love each other and want to make that commitment.
Undoubtedly arguing that domestic partner benefits ordinance is not about marriage discrimination is part of a strategic move by advocates who are trying to enlist the support of Republicans who fear the measure might intrude on traditional marriage. The irony though is the measure - by granting benefits to heterosexual couples, people who can get married and choose not to - actually does undermine traditional marriage. If the ordinance was confined to awarding benefits for same sex couples that are discriminated against from getting married, at least until such time as same sex marriage is allowed, then the measure would support traditional marriage.
The Mayor appears to have this one right. Let's not extend domestic partner benefits to heterosexual couples who choose not to get married.