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Gay-rights foes vow to act against Miami-Dade County domestic partners proposal

BY MATTHEW I. PINZUR, mpinzur@MiamiHerald.com

Opponents of a domestic partnership proposal in Miami-Dade government threatened county commissioners with political retribution at a news conference Friday.

''Every commissioner who does vote for the proposal will be held accountable,'' said Anthony Verdugo, executive director of the Christian Family Coalition.

The bill would give all Miami-Dade residents the right to visit their partner in jails and hospitals. It would also allow county employees to buy insurance coverage for their partner and that partner's children.

A final vote on the package will likely come May 20, but it already has six cosponsors on the 13-member commission and appears to have at least the one remaining vote it needs for approval.

''I think this is a matter of justice and equality and compassion and common sense,'' said Commissioner Katy Sorenson, one of the bill's sponsors, at a committee hearing last month.

Such programs are increasingly common; Broward County, the Miami-Dade school district and the cities of Miami Beach and North Miami all offer similar benefits.

The county would partially subsidize partners' premiums, as it already does for spouses and worker's own children. Mayor Carlos Alvarez's administration said it costs around $2,200 per dependent and estimated 300 to 600 new dependents would sign up.

LABELED TOO COSTLY

Opponents at Friday's conference -- who misread the administration's estimates and said they were expecting 900 new dependents at a price of nearly $2 million -- said the expense was too costly during the current budget crisis.

''We're not going to be pushed around by extremist groups who want to get their sticky fingers in our pockets,'' said Eladio José Armesto, publisher of the weekly newspaper El Nuevo Patria.

A flier distributed at the news conference focused on the financial angle, but some speakers turned to morality.

''We are not OK with the homosexual agenda,'' said Nathaniel Wilcox, a minister at Apostolic Revival Center. ``It's purely a homosexual agenda, a homosexual process.''

Gay-rights groups have, indeed, advocated the proposal. But many supporters, including some of the county's most powerful labor unions, have emphasized the unmarried heterosexual couples who live together and would benefit from the program, too.

''My domestic partner, my wife, was in the hospital before we were married; I was not allowed to see her,'' said Jay Staley, president of the union that represents water and sewer employees, speaking at the committee hearing. ``It took the Miami-Dade Police Department, bless their souls, to get me in her room to make some decisions.''

Verdugo called out three commissioners by name -- Natacha Seijas, Dennis Moss and Rebeca Sosa -- saying they will cast the deciding votes.

Moss voted for the bill in committee, saying ''the world hasn't come to an end'' in the years since other large governments adopted such plans. He told The Miami Herald on Friday that he is ''planning on sticking with it,'' which would make him the critical seventh vote.

STILL SUPPORTS BILL

Sosa supported the bill in a more preliminary vote and said she, too, would continue to support it ``unless they prove there's some negative to the county.''

Seijas has cosponsored a separate bill with Commissioners Dorrin Rolle and José ''Pepe'' Diaz, which would provide the same visitation and insurance options for relatives who live together.

The Alvarez administration has expressed concern that it would be used by elderly or infirm relatives, who tend to need more medical care and therefore drive up the cost of running the system.

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How fn crazy does that sound?
Yes, we will punish people for allowing citizens to visit their loved one in the hospital.

Love your neighbor as yourself. Or, non-Biblically, do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Period. Not just some of your neighbors, not just some "others" but all of your neighbors, all "others". All people in this nation are to be treated equally under law. It is a county law that gives benefits to some partners now, and it is an unequal application of county law that excludes some, not all partners, based on the religious views of some, not all. Love more of your neighbors when given the opportunity, please.

"a homosexual agenda, a homosexual process" these people are weird they need to be more creative

http://www.queersunited.blogspot.com

Compassion and justice wins out. And these "foes" are supposed to be God-loving? Pshaw.

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