A city’s hypocrisy

Minneapolis is being hypocritical about domestic-partner benefits.

by Daily Editorial Board

A Minneapolis city ordinance requires any vendor providing city employees more than $100,000 worth of services to offer domestic-partner benefits to its employees. Yet Minneapolis ignored this ordinance when the City Council voted April 1 to waive the requirement and renew its contract with Life Time Fitness despite Life TimeâÄôs lack of domestic-partner benefits.

Hypocrisy and inaction plagues the cityâÄôs benefits system. While the city requires domestic-partner benefits of its vendors, it does not provide them itself.

According to the city ordinance, domestic partners are “two non-married adult partners who are committed to one another to the same extent as married persons are to each other.” The definition encompasses both same- and opposite-sex partnerships.

In 1995, Minneapolis attempted to provide these domestic-partner benefits to its employees, but the Minnesota Court of Appeals struck down the effort. The city has inexplicably not made a second attempt to provide domestic-partner benefits in more than 15 years.

By waiving the domestic-partner benefit requirement for vendors and by not providing domestic-partner benefits for its employees, the city has shown that it does not take its own rule seriously.

Minneapolis needs to act on two fronts: It must try again to provide domestic-partner benefits to its own employees and must enforce its ordinance for vendors.

Minneapolis recognizes the importance of offering domestic-partner benefits; otherwise, it would not require them of vendors. To be taken seriously, the city needs to enforce its own ordinance and stop its domestic-partner benefit hypocrisy.

Minneapolis is being hypocritical about domestic-partner benefits.