Cuyahoga County, which includes Cleveland, Ohio, has approved domestic partner benefits to gay employees, The 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 choice.”

“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.”