Domestic Partnership Amendment Clears U.S. House

By Matt Pyeatt | July 7, 2008 | 8:28 PM EDT

(Corrects Earlier Version:Local funds would be spent to create domestic partnerships)

( -The U.S. House Tuesday voted overwhelmingly in favor of legislation that would allow the District of Columbia to spend its local funds to establish domestic partner benefits. The amendment, which conservatives criticized as an effort to recognize homosexual relationships, was attached to the fiscal year 2002 D.C. appropriations bill. The larger bill passed the House 327-88.

Rep. Jim Kolbe (R-Ariz.), who is openly homosexual and sponsored the domestic partnership amendment along with Rep. James Moran (D-Va.), said his legislation "would permit the D.C. government to use local funds to administer a domestic partnership program.

"This amendment will allow an employee of the District of Columbia government to purchase health insurance at their own expense for their domestic partners," Kolbe said in a statement.

Kolbe defined a domestic partnership as "as two people in a familial relationship characterized by mutual caring and may include a grandmother and a mother living together and jointly raising children, two widows or widowers living together and gay or lesbian couples."

Kolbe called the amendment "family friendly" and stated that it would [remove] a burden off of the many families who depend on a "grandmother or uncle to sustain them."

The bill passed after Rep. Dave Weldon (R-Fla.) attempted to keep the Kolbe amendment from reaching the House floor. The amendment would have prohibited the funding of "domestic partnerships" in the District of Columbia. It failed by a vote of 226 to 194.

Michael Schwartz, Vice-President of Government Relations for the group, Concerned Women for America, said the vote on the D.C. appropriations bill shows that the homosexual lobby has the Democratic Party by the throat. And it is making huge inroads in the Republican Party, when you consider that it also got one-fifth of the Republican vote."

"This effort to stroke the egos of a pampered few will end up damaging the lives of thousands of less-privileged D.C. residents," Schwartz added in a statement.