Yesterday was a great day to be gay (and so is today …)

What a big day Tuesday was ….

The defeat of the PA Marriage Amendment was a huge deal. No drawn out drama. No legislative time wasted.  The bill went back on the table.  Huge victory.

I'm finally making some headway in my attempts to find out exactly how domestic partner benefits can be extended to County employees.  It has taken more than two months to get this information (why the big secrets, even setting side the snowstorm delay?). I should clarify that County Council has provided me with information, but the County Administration continues to avoid answering my questions.  

I hope to continue making progress on this issue.  If the process is the barrier to Mr. Onorato being able to provide these benefits, let's make sure we understand the process and put pressure in the right places.  I've spoken with too many County employees who aren't comfortable being out in their workplace because of the culture of homophobia.  It is our responsibility to help Mr. Onorato understand why even one employee so oppressed deserves his leadership.  They are his team and they deserve to be treated with the same respect as their heterosexual colleagues.

I'll save my conclusions until I've gathered more data.  Home Rule Charter – big reading fun. 

My understanding is that even though the Governor has extended dp benefits to State employees, not all state unions have embraced them.  So there is work to be done on that level, too, which is why we need to elect a Governor who will be proactive on this issue.  We certainly can't afford to let equal rights opportunities slip away!   Health care is a front and center issue so we need good information on all the players — Executive, Legislative, Labor, Non-Unionized Workforce, etc — to ensure our families have access to health insurance. 

Last night was also the Steel City Stonewall meeting.  THREE candidates for the Board are putting their names forward which is very exciting.  Questionnaires have been returned and should be up on the Steel City website tonight.  Some questionnaires are still MIA, but you'll be able to see for yourself.  Do you think members should know which candidates turned in a questionnaire by the deadline and which turned it in days, even a week, late?  Does that have any meaning?

The endorsement meeting is March 28 from 2-5 PM.  If you are interested, follow Steel City on Twitter @StonewallPgh for up to the moment information. 

Steel City also needs your membership. You can pay at the door and vote that day.  This is a critical time to take a political stance.  You have everything you need …. you can research the candidates in advance so you know what you are voting about, you can ask questions (guess what I'm going to ask of whom?), you can make an impact with one vote (trust me on that one). 

If you stay home, you allow power to decide the future of your family to rest in the hands of folks who maybe don't quite understand your family experience?  That's never good. 


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  • So are you saying that after all your bashing of Onorato, it's a more complicated issue than you believed and it may not be all his fault? Or even possible for him to do anything? Will you issue him an apology?

  • I'm glad you brought that up. The information from County Council staff is that only the Chief Executve has authority to take action; the Home Rule Charter does not permit County Council to do so. I am waiting for the Administration to clarify the process by which the CE can do that (I have other interpretations).
    What is wrong is that the UNIONS are the only place where this dialogue can begin. That does not seem to be the case. The Administration can extend the benefits and negotiate union by union how they are incorporated into their contracts AS WELL as extended to non-unionized employees.
    So there are a lot of apologies that need to be extended — by the people misleading me about the unions, by the unions for failing to address internal homophobia, by the Council for not taking a harder stance with the CE, by the City of Pittsburgh for costing City employees their benefits through consolidation of 911, by the STATE unions who deny their employees well-deserved benefits by pandering to fear.
    But the biggest apology should come from Mr. Onorato for failing to start this process 2, 4 or 6 years ago to ensure his employees had health insurance for their families while he had the ability to make that happen. He's planning to move on and leave each of those families in the lurch. Shame.

  • That is, indeed, pretty ballsy for a man who won't give his own employees this same courtesy.
    These questionnaires are going to be rich.
    Thanks for posting.

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