Breaking: Pennsylvania Courts to Offer Domestic Partner Benefits

Another step forward for Pennsylvania's public employees.  From the Philly Gay News:

Employees of Pennsylvania’s court system who are in same-sex relationships will now be entitled to the same benefits as their heterosexual married counterparts.

The domestic-partner policy, announced Jan. 29 to all employees through a memo with their paystubs, will allow the partners of gay and lesbian staffers to be included on the medical, dental, vision and prescription-drug plans currently offered to married heterosexual couples.

Art Heinz, communications coordinator at the Administrative Office of the Pennsylvania Courts, said the policy will apply only to same-sex partners of the employees and will not be offered to unmarried heterosexual couples. Support materials for those wishing to enroll in the program will be available shortly, Heinz said, and the program will officially open March 1.

Disappointing that this only applies to LGBT couples, but still a step forward.  This applies to nearly 1,000 elected officials. 

Imagine — openly gay judges. 

This is the most excellent response to the “if the budget allows” hedging we've heard here in our neck of the woods.

McCaffrey concurred that the cost should be minimal, but said finances did not play a large role in the Supreme Court’s decision.

“There were some numbers thrown back and forth, but we didn’t feel it was going to be a big number,” the justice said. “We of course don’t know the number of people who are going to use this, but as I said to my colleagues, when the U.S. Supreme Court was deciding ‘Brown v. Board of Education,’ never once did the issue of money come up. It was about equality, fairness, equal rights. And that’s what we focused on.”

Equality, fairness, equal rights.  So refreshing. 

Expect an announcement from Team Onorato next week.  Sources tell me he will reiterate his support for civil unions, something the Governor cannot actually make happen given the rabidly conservative tenure of the Senate.  No word from Chief Executive Onorato on domestic partner benefits for County employees.

Kudos to the PA Court system for treating their own staff with equality and fairness.




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