USS: Make history and vote yes

Although it’s been slow, the progress on the Undergraduate Student Senate’s resolution to support domestic partner benefits at Kent State has been steady. The resolution has been around for a while, but there is only one more step that needs to be taken.

With the vote scheduled for today, we are left with only one thing to say to the Undergraduate Student Senate: Pass it already.

The resolution would help grant health benefits to faculty and staff who qualify, and it isn’t just a debate about sexuality. On Sept. 7, the Daily Kent Stater reported that USS Executive Director Ross Miltner believed that this would not only aid gay and lesbian couples, but also heterosexual couples who choose not to get married. He went on to say, “It’s important to students because Kent State is losing out on the opportunity to get good faculty members.”

Right on, Ross.

If the resolution passes, the university’s policy on the issue won’t automatically change. The resolution will then be referred to President Lester Lefton, who can then propose a plan to the Board of Trustees. Ultimately, it would be up to the trustees to make the final decision. Even though the USS has yet to take a final vote, it will be out of senate’s hands from here on. The least members should do is make sure that the right people come face-to-face with this resolution.

Already, universities across the state have allowed for domestic partners to receive benefits. Ohio State, Ohio University, Cleveland State and Miami University have all made equality a top priority – let’s not permit this university to get left behind. In February, the Faculty Senate voted to support moving forward with a domestic partners resolution. Now, USS, it’s your turn to add your voice to this call.

It’s bad enough that we live in a state with a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage. There are many people in loving relationships who will never be able to take care of their partner because of this ban. There is little reason for gays and lesbians to work for the university, or even stay in the state, when so many other places offer these benefits and do not discriminate.

Kent State can do its part to help the people most hurt by the existing ban on gay marriage. While things can and will get better, action must be taken when the opportunity is present — such as today.

This editoral is aimed directly to the members of the USS. Today, as you cast your vote, take a step toward equality on this campus, and vote in favor of this resolution.

The above editorial is the consensus opinion of the members of the Daily Kent Stater editorial board.