Rally For Domestic Partner Benefits At EKU

The debate over domestic partner benefits hits another Kentucky campus.

Events were held all day today on the Eastern Kentucky University campus in Madison County, where some students and faculty are calling for a change in policy.

They want to extend health benefits to unmarried couples, both gay and straight.

UK and the University of Louisville have already approved those benefits, and EKU students want their school to follow suit.

Four hours of picketing were followed by a Benefits for All Rally in the Ravine this afternoon.

Marta Miranda, a faculty members at EKU, says this movement is important, because EKU purports diversity. "EKU has a statement that says it promotes a diverse campus. At the same time we do not have benefits for partners who are not married, either because legally they are not allowed to marry like homosexual couples, or folks who decide not to marry because of whatever reasons," she says.

All of this that happened today sprang from a college class. The class was Minority Politics, where students studied how different minority groups are discriminated against within the justice system. One of those students says, they saw an opportunity to make a difference here locally.

Several hundred students signed a petition in favor of domestic partner benefits.

The sentiment of the faculty was established years ago.

Meg Gunderson, an EKU faculty member, says the faculty senate in 2000 unanimously passed a similar proposal. "There is not only student support, there is faculty support, there is staff support. It is time for our administration to get in line," Gunderson says.

There were no serious confrontations at EKU today with those opposing domestic partner benefits.

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