The Miami Herald is reporting that a package of domestic-partner benefits looks like it's headed to passage in Miami-Dade county. This is really good news for same-sex couples, but it looks like others are getting in on the act as well.

The proposal gives domestic partners, regardless of sexual orientation, the legal right to visit each other in hospitals and jails. It would also let county employees buy health insurance coverage for their partners and partners' children.

"We're a family and we need to have that sense of security," said Cristina Florez, whose partner works for the county's aviation department. Florez's daughter was due Monday, and she said independent insurance will be practically unavoidable when she becomes a stay-at-home mother.

The proposal defines domestic partners as unmarried adults who are at least 18, live together, are not blood relatives and consider themselves "immediate family."
Catch that last part? It's a good strategy, and I doubt that Miami-Dade is the first to use it. With the rise in unmarried couples living together--couples like Amy and me--this sort of thing will be more in demand, and it makes allies of hetero couples with same-sex couples. Indeed, many of the people there to comment were hetero couples who were living together.

Of course, the haters were out as well.
"God doesn't cover domestic partnerships," said Nathaniel Wilcox, a minister at Apostolic Revival Center.
I've said this before, but I'm always amazed at the arrogance of preachers who claim to speak for God. I say this in part because I was that arrogant myself at one point, until I got served a heaping helping of "slapped upside the head with logic" in my mid-20s. But you don't even have to get hit with logic to realize that if you're a believer, you're taking an awful chance when you claim to speak for God, because if you're wrong, and God doesn't like what you have to say, payback has got to be rough.

Anyway, the plan is better on the issue of things like visitation in hospitals and jails than it is on things like insurance--it will give county employees the ability to purchase coverage for domestic partners, but won't kick in any of the cost--but it's a start, and an important one. Good work.

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