by Steven Hale
Knoxville Mayor Madeline Rogero tells the Knoxville News-Sentinel that she plans to move ahead with extending city employee benefits to domestic partners, including those of the same sex, making Knoxville the first major city in Tennessee to do so.
From the News-Sentinel:
“Basically this is about treating employees equally and fairly — those who are in committed relationships,” she said.
The benefit would require a domestic partner — regardless of sexual orientation or preference — to prove via financial documents and a signed affadavit their commitment to an employee, according to Rogero.
Rogero says the expected annual cost is about $60,000 out of the $13 million benefits budget. The change does not require approval from Knoxville's city council. Roger also tells the News-Sentinel that the city expects 2 percent of city employees to apply.
Metro officials in Nashville have been considering the issue as well. Earlier this month 26 Metro Council members signed a letter asking Mayor Karl Dean to appoint a study committee to contemplate the move. Dean ultimately granted the request and has appeared supportive of the effort thus far.