A county commissioner in Pennsylvania this week said that he opposed providing health care benefits to partners in same sex relationships because the government would also have to give money to people’s pets.
Lehigh County Commissioner Tom Creighton on Wednesday explained that he was offering an amendment to strip the benefits out of the county’s 2014 budget because “marriage is between a man and a woman.”
Same sex marriage is not legal in Pennsylvania, but County Executive Matt Croslis had for the first time included health care benefits for same sex couples married in other states in his 2014 budget.
“The state has a ban on same-sex marriage, so why should the county be offering benefits for same-sex marriage?” Creighton asked on Wednesday, according to The Morning Call. “I don’t feel the county should be looking for new ways to give away taxpayer money.”
“Next it could be giving money out to people’s pets or whatever,” he added. “No, it probably won’t go that far.”
Croslis has set aside $219,000 in the budget to cover benefits for same sex couples, but he did not expect that all of those funds would be used. Lehigh Valley Live reported that Croslis could assert his executive authority and extend benefits to same sex couples without the approval of commissioners, but he included the item in the budget for the sake of transparency.
As county executive, Croslis would also have the ability to veto Creighton’s amendment.
“You’re talking about such a big veto, and I don’t know what other amendments are coming forward,” he pointed out. “And just because he has an amendment doesn’t mean it will pass. If he’s the only person supporting it, I wouldn’t even have to think about vetoing anything.”
Former Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum, who is also from Pennsylvania, infamously compared homosexuality to sex with dogs.
In a 2003 interview with The Associated Press, the then-Pennsylvania senator said that he opposed a Supreme Court ruling that struck down Texas’ anti-sodomy law because same sex marriage was wrong, comparing it to “man on child, man on dog, or whatever the case may be.”
[Photo credit: Gay male couple on their wedding day via Shutterstock]