A former Little Caesars pizza employee
on Wednesday sued his former employer for refusing to extend health
insurance benefits to his husband.
Frank Bernard, 47, filed his lawsuit in
state Superior Court in Orange County, California, according to
Bernard said he quit his trainee
manager job after Little Caesars refused to recognize his California
marriage to his husband of six years.
“I didn't want anything special, I
just wanted the same benefits package as heterosexual couples,” he
told reporters during a news conference in Los Angeles.
In a letter to Bernard, the pizza chain
explained that it defined “spouse” for the purpose of benefits as
“the one person to whom you are legally married under the laws of
the state in which you reside, including common law spouse, and who
is the opposite gender from you.”
Little Caesars, the nation's
third-largest pizza chain, and its parent company, Ilitch Holdings,
are named defendants in the lawsuit.
Little Caesars is based in Detroit,
Michigan, which does not allow gay couples to marry. State officials
have appealed a federal decision striking down Michigan's
voter-approved marriage ban.