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To the editor: In the Feb. 10 editorial, "Partner Mandate Still A Bad Idea," Business Insurance again displays its traditional view that putting any requirements on employers is always a bad idea.

Unfortunately, sometimes businesses have to be encouraged to recognize what other employers have already discovered: that offering domestic partnership benefits to their employees is good for business and will not result in any dire consequences for their bottom lines. As a page 1 article in the same issue reports, the cost to employers for such benefits is low.

New York should take your suggestion and be encouraged by what has happened in San Francisco since BI's editorial was written. United Airlines and the city of San Francisco have reached a compromise whereby United will offer domestic partner benefits to its employees over the next two years.

By agreeing to the two-year provision, San Francisco is apparently demonstrating the "flexibility" you contend is so important for employers.

Moreover, United should not have any problem granting the benefits since it is already doing so for its employees in Australia, New Zealand and The Netherlands, where similar laws mandate them.

Regarding Catholic Charities, it appears that the church and San Francisco may also have reached a compromise that allows for the domestic partner benefits San Francisco wants but saves face for the church by simply calling them something else. Again, the mandate, with a little flexibility, appears once again to have been successful.

One would hope New York will take these events into account when it considers its proposed ordinance.

Joe Whalen

San Francisco