By Andy Birkey | May 5, 2009 • In a letter to Sen. Don Betzhold, DFL-Fridley, and Rep. Phyllis Kahn, DFL-Minneapolis, Gov. Tim Pawlenty said he wouldn’t sign a bill that contained health benefits for same-sex couples. The omnibus state government bill currently being negotiated in conference committee provides domestic partner benefits for state employees. Pawlenty named that the top reason he wouldn’t sign the bill.
“The House bill requires that state-paid health insurance must be made available to domestic partners if a collective bargaining agreement or plan provides state paid health insurance to spouses,” he wrote. “The bill extends benefits to both same sex and opposite sex partners, I oppose this provision and will not sign a bill that includes this expansion of benefits.”
Minnesota extended those benefits briefly under Gov. Jesse Ventura. In 2003, a Republican-led House refused to ratify a labor contract that contained the benefits, and 85 families lost their health and life insurance benefits.
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