There is no reason to change the definition of spouse in the benefit plan for government employees, an Alberta cabinet minister in charge of human resources said Monday.
"I don't see the problem," Treasury Board president Lloyd Snelgrove said.
A booklet distributed to civil servants last spring defined a spouse as someone of the opposite sex. Gay and lesbian couples who are married are called "benefit partners" in the same document, even though same-sex marriage has been legal in Alberta since July 2005.
But Snelgrove said the government gives all employees equal coverage, so he has no intention of changing the definition of spouse to include people in same-sex marriages.
"Now if the government as a whole decides that they want to review terminology around a spouse, that's a little bigger thing because I would imagine there's more departments [like] justice that would use that same definition," he said.
You don't see the problem, Snelgrove? You are either blind, have never actually looked at the wording, or your brain is still paralyzed from the cabinet session where Liepert convinced to cut funding for GRS in this province!
Legally, those two people are married. The term spouse applies to them just as much as it does to Mr. Snelgrove and his wife. Assuming, of course, that Mr. Snelgrove is married.
The fact that "benefits partner" implicitly creates a second class of benefit management is one problem; the fact that it will be seen as an implicit form of hostility by any GLBT members of the civil service is another.
That an Alberta politician from the current governing party doesn't understand this is no surprise. It's not like reality bothers them much at all.