Cuyahoga County, which includes
Cleveland, Ohio, has approved domestic partner benefits to gay
Plain Dealer reported.
Council members voted 6-4 on Wednesday
to extend health insurance benefits to the partners of gay workers
and their children.
Citing costs, the council decided to
abandon plans to include unmarried heterosexual workers.
The legislation was introduced by
Council Vice President Sunny Simon.
“This is the first step to be more
inclusive,” Simon told the paper. “They [heterosexuals] have a
choice to get married. This particular group [gay couples] has no
“From my standpoint, the charter
really mandates the new county government not engage in
discriminatory practices. It's just being just and fair.”
The county is following in the
footsteps of the City of Cleveland, which last year extended similar
benefits to all workers regardless of sexual orientation.
To receive the benefits, a county
employee and his or her partner must have shared a home for at least
six months, swear that they would marry if Ohio legalized gay
marriage, and pledge that they intend to continue their “exclusive,
committed and intimate relationship for life.”