“Partner” Benefits

It was no surprise that USF finally came around to the reality of offering full domestic partner benefits to its employees. Many other universities already do, including a number of large research institutions with whom USF competes for faculty. If there’s any place where discrimination shouldn’t be countenanced, it’s an institution of higher learning.


“We believe it’s the right thing to do, and we’ll work to make it happen this year,” said USF President Judy Genshaft at last week’s annual state of the university speech. USF has budgeted about $500,000 annually to pay for the expanded benefit package. It currently has about 13,000 employees across four campuses. Nearly half are covered for university benefits.


While details remain to be worked out, this much is certain. The domestic partner benefits apply to both heterosexual and same-sex couples.


Not to be, well, nitpicky, but that seems more than fair. As in unnecessarily so. Same-sex couples in a committed relationship can’t, as we well know, get married here – and thus can’t qualify for spousal benefits. A progressive, partners-benefits plan will now address that.


Good for those affected, and good for USF. It’s the right move, and it’s the smart move.


As for heterosexual couples, they obviously have no legal proscriptions precluding marriage. Their commitment stops shy of marriage. So should their benefit rationales.

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