In a unanimous vote, the Bellevue City Council in Washington State has amended the city code to allow the extension of family benefits to domestic partners of city employees — straight or gay. Married employees already receive these benefits for their spouses They include medical, dental, vision, life insurance, mental health counseling and family leave. The city will now begin the process of implementing a domestic partner benefits plan.
The vote comes two months after Lambda Legal launched a case on behalf of three longtime city employees: Larry deGroen, Faun Patzer and George Einsetler. All three have served the city for more than 10 years with distinction and are in long term committed relationships with a same-sex partner. All three had previously been denied family benefits that married spouses receive.
Lambda Legal still has more work ahead. We will take a close look at the city’s plan and monitor how the benefits are implemented this summer to ensure that domestic partners are treated equally.