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Domestic partners claim benefits

(WEAU) - "It’s good to know that the city supports same-sex couples and domestic partners," said Detective Clayton Wanta, Eau Claire Police Department.

The Eau Claire City Council passed the resolution 10 to 1 back in April.

As of July 1st city employees like Detective Clayton Wanta and his partner are finally seeing results.

"He's very happy because again it comes to fairness and equality and it was great to see that the city recognized that and it shouldn't matter that it's a same sex couple or not," said Wanta.

City Council Vice President Dave Duax says he's heard from a few people who have opposed the change because of concerns with cost.

"There's no real impact on property taxes. The cost of our health insurance has been fixed by contract with Group Health Cooperative," said City Council Vice President Dave Duax.

"I think it’s good and I think some of the angst that was originally there for folks has kind of died down," said Council member, Andrew Werthmann.

The city says so far two city employees have applied for the new insurance benefits.

To get the new benefits a partner must live in the same household as the city employee, be over the age of 18 and be registered with the county as a domestic partnership.

"There are folks in our community who have felt for so long in some ways that their relationships were second class," said Werthmann.

At the same time, Wanta says he wasn't worried the benefits wouldn't follow through.

"I got a request from Human Resources making sure I have my partner fill out the necessary paper work and get everything filled with Group Health," said Wanta.

Wanta says the city's approval is a great stepping stone for the future.

He also says if Wisconsin does approve gay marriage, he and his partner will tie the knot.


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