I was contacted by a board member with the Steel City Stonewall Democrats regarding an earlier post in which I criticized Dan Onorato for failing to answer the SCSD question on domestic partner benefits. SCSD acknowledged that they made an error uploading the file and sent me evidence that in the original question, Onorato responded as follows:
5. Do you support domestic partner benefits for government and governmental agency
The link to his complete questionnaire is here.
The Steel City website has been down over the past week so this was a strange technological fluke, albeit an incredibly ironic twist that this one particular word was deleted. I'd go so far as to say prophetic but I do believe that it was an honest mistake. As I know the link was circulating before I put up my previous post, I do hope the organization makes an effort to clarify the mistake at least with the three campaigns most affected.
Dan Onorato did answer the question on domestic partner benefits and answered the survey completely.
Still, “yes” seems a bit inadequate. How can he just sidestep the fact that he doesn't actually offer domestic partner benefits to his own government employees? Did he hope no one would notice? At least, he didn't write “it is complicated.”
At this point, he's screwed from a political perspective because he can't offer them at this late date and look sincere. He could, however, offer them at this late date and do the right thing regardless of how it looks politically. That option is always on the table. Leadership. Conviction. Equality.
Joe Hoeffel's questionnaire is here.
Do you support domestic partner benefits for government and governmental agency employees?
Yes, I support full domestic partner benefits for government and governmental agency employees. Montgomery County has had domestic partner benefits since 2001, and as governor I will push for Pennsylvania to provide them.
That's an interesting last point Joe makes. In May 2009, I wrote about Pennsylvania extending domestic partner benefits to Commonwealth employees. In other worlds, they are available. However, I've been told by union organizers that not all state unions have opted to access this benefit so clearly this is work to be done by Rendell and the next Governor to ensure same sex families have access to benefits – especially health insurance.
Not only does Joe have a record of the benefits being available in his County (before he came to office even), but he's offered them to his campaign staff, too. He's also making a very strong statement of commitment to “push” for benefits, not giving us a one word answer.
I know that I've been hitting this issue hard for weeks now, but here is an opportunity to simply compare the candidates words … and actions.
I regret being the bearer of inaccurate information. I can say I acted in good faith and did look up the revised information as soon as I had access to my computer. While the organization is apologizing to the campaigns, I apologize to my readers for misleading you.