University Of Illinois to Offer Domestic Partner Benefits

Sat. July 19, 2003 12:00 AM by

Chicago, IL - The partners of gay and lesbian employees of the University of Illinois have won benefit rights. They will now be eligible for coverage in the statewide system's health and dental plans.

The decision, by the U-I board of trustees makes the university, with campuses in Chicago, Springfield and Urbana-Champaign, the first public university in the state to recognize same-sex relationships.

The University of Illinois joins seven private institutions in the state, including Northwestern and the University of Chicago, which offer the benefits, and Illinois will become the eighth Big Ten institution to offer them.

''We're talking about basic fundamental fairness and rights for people,'' said trustee Devon Bruce. ''Civil rights are priceless.''

The decision had the backing of university president James Stukel.

''The faculty says we are in a distinct competitive disadvantage with other universities,'' Stukel said. The projected cost is comparable with the costs at other Big Ten institutions, he said noting that the benefits are needed to help attract quality faculty.

by Steph Smith Newscenter
Chicago Bureau
©® 2003

This article originally appeared on Republished with permission.