Backlash to New York City Council's health benefits demand
Three weeks ago, the New York City Council overwhelmingly passed the Equal Benefits Bill (full text | press release PDF | video-hi | video-lo | audio), which requires all organizations contracting with the city to provide the same benefits to employees' "domestic partners" as they do to employees' spouses.
There's just one problem: one of the city's largest aid organizations believes that there are important differences between heterosexual, married spouses and unmarried and gay couples. The New York Post reports that the Salvation Army won't follow the new law, and may reject millions of dollars it receives each year from the city. Such a massive funding cut would of course lead to widespread program cuts—so much so that the paper characterizes it as "leaving town."
"The Army will not change its policy," an unnamed official told Post reporter Brad Hamilton. "You cannot change theological views. Those are so deeply embedded, they form the root of the faith itself."
But the bill's chief sponsor says the Army is mistaken. The law doesn't require that the church support homosexual and unmarried sex, she says, only that it provide benefits to "any family member" of an employee.
"I think the bill makes a very fair accommodation for religious organizations," Christine Quinn told the Post. "I would welcome the opportunity to sit down with the Salvation Army and explain how this would work, that they could keep their contracts, abide by the law, and not violate their core religious beliefs."
There's clearly some disagreement on the nature of the bill, so here's what it says:
"Domestic partners" means persons who have registered with the city clerk as domestic partners, or who ...1
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