Monday, May 18, 2009

Pennsylvania to provide Domestic Partnership Benefits

Pennsylvania will be providing Domestic Partnership benefits to its State employees and their domestic partners, regardless of if they are Same-Sex or, as Miss CA would call them, "opposite"-Sexed couples:

Good news from Pennsylvania, as the state is set to provide domestic partner benefits for state employees. Medical, prescription drug, dental, vision, and hearing-aid benefits will be available to the same-sex and different-sex partners of state employees, effective July 1, 2009.

The Pennsylvania Employees Benefit Trust Fund (PEBTF) voted unanimously to provide these benefits, and the registration process was opened up on May 1. As Gov. Ed Rendell’s press secretary aptly put it, these benefits are “long overdue”. Pennsylvania will join 16 states and the District of Columbia in providing domestic partner benefits to state employees. View HRC’s map of policies around the country [pdf].

This is an important step toward making sure that everyone in Pennsylvania receive equal pay for equal work. As the chair of PEBTF’s board said “it’s just the right thing to do”.

While marriage is only legal in a few states, 17 states now offer domestic partnership benefits of some type to their employees. I think this is a positive step. We should not judge the progress of the Gay Rights Movement based solely on marriage, but also on other rights.

Athens provides DP benefits to its employees, but the State of Georgia does not. Let's continue to put pressure on the state to do so in the coming legislative year.