Bethlehem Area School District Approves Same-Sex Partner Benefits

June 18 Bethlehem Area School Board member Basilio Bonilla announced publically that the district would begin offering domestic partner benefits to same-sex partners of school district employees.

Equality Pennsylvania’s President Adrian Shanker said of the move “This policy is really about one thing: Equal pay for equal work.” The school district has employees with same-sex spouses who are unable to legally marry in Pennsylvania, a step that might otherwise enable them to participate in sharing benefits.

“They deserve to be treated with equality by this school district regardless of whether the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania treats them with equality,” Shanker said. He previously led the successful effort to win partner benefits for municipal employees in Allentown and Easton.

The school district’s action follows other recent advances for relationship recognition in the state, including marriage equality endorsements from the Mayor of Pittsburgh and the Pennsylvania Democratic Party.

Ted Martin, executive director of Equality Pennsylvania, noted, “The Bethlehem Area School District should be applauded for doing the right thing by their LGBT employees. There are people who really need these benefits, and thanks to commonsense school district leaders, they will get it.”

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