(Reggie Beehner)

By

It’s one of the perks. You wake up too early in the morning and stay in the office too late in the evening, but at least you get some compensation: a decent paycheck and health care benefits. But there’s a catch.

Unless you’re married, those benefits do not cover your partner. At least that’s the case at Eastern , and that situation should change.

The University of Kentucky and the University of Louisville have adopted insurance plans for the faculty’s domestic partners. And, in the name of fairness, Eastern needs to join those universities and support its entire faculty, not just the faculty who are married.

The need to adopt a new health care benefit policy can be supported by one reason: It makes sense.

By only offering health care benefits to the households of married faculty members, Eastern is, in a sense, rewarding its employees who wear wedding bands. And it’s punishing those who have a family, but choose not to get married.

That’s overt discrimination.

That’s saying, “It’s ok to have a live-in partner, as long as you’re married to him or her.”

Who says it’s wrong to have a domestic partner without the white gown and the big cake and the piece of paper that announces your unity?

Of course many people believe engaging in domestic partnership without marriage is sinful, but those beliefs tend to stem from religious or political ideas, which state institutions such as universities should not recognize.

But Eastern apparently favors certain ideas over others. Otherwise, it would embrace equality and let everyone enjoy the same benefits regardless of martial status.

Eastern’s purpose says, “Eastern Kentucky University seeks to provide intellectual and cultural opportunities that will develop habits of scholarship and intellectual curiosity, provide a deep understanding of American democracy and the citizen’s role in maintaining its strength and vitality, impart an understanding of humans and their aspirations…”

How can Eastern strengthen students’ understanding of humans if the university wags its finger at its own employees’ domestic choices?

How can Eastern truly embrace cultural opportunities when it does not accept its own culture: an environment in which people have the right to live and love the way they want without penalties?

Unless you’re apart of the Eastern Kentucky University faculty, that is.