Easton Passes Same Sex Partner Benefits

A standing ovation concluded a recent vote by Easton City Council as they unanimously endorsed legislation providing equal benefits to same sex partners of City staff.

The 5th such ordinance in the state was sponsored by Council member Mike Fleck. During the previous weeks of public comment period no one spoke against the ordinance which takes effect on January 1, 2012. Other Pennsylvania cities that offer same-sex partner benefits include Allentown, Harrisburg, Pittsburgh, and Philadelphia.

Pennsylvania Diversity Network’s Adrian Shanker and Liz Bradbury worked with Fleck for 18 months to prepare the legislation and garner support. Shanker stated, “I am so pleased by the unanimous and bipartisan support for relationship recognition for same sex couples in Easton. Easton now joins the vast majority of Fortune 500 companies in providing the best human resource policies for employees.”

Bradbury, who also worked in 2002 to pass Easton’s non-discrimination law, commented, “Easton has come a long way, and I am thrilled that I can recommend it as a progressive place to live or work for the lgbt community.”

Fleck introduced this ordinance because he said “[he] was elected to represent all the citizens of the West Ward, many of whom are lgbt and want to know that their City treats their community as equals.” Easton’s openly gay city council member El Warner said, “I am very proud of my colleagues on council for coming together to pass this important civil rights bill. The time for it is now.”

The legislation is strongly supported by Mayor Sal Panto who is expected to sign it June 6.

Info: http://www.PADiversity.org

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