Commander Kristi Wilson has been a police officer for 20 years, 14 of those years with the city of Redmond, Washington. She is raising two young children with her partner of eight years who is a stay-at-home mom without any affordable access to health insurance. Last January, Wilson was diagnosed with breast cancer. While she had health insurance, it terrified her to think what might have happened if her partner had received the diagnosis instead of her.
Wilson and her colleague, Lieutenant Betsy Lawrence, a law enforcement veteran of 23 years, joined forces to demand benefits for their families. They sought out Lambda Legal’s help to fight for equal pay for equal work.
Lambda Legal threatened the city with legal action in a strongly written demand letter, and after a late night session, the city council took an initial vote to extend family benefits to city employees with same-sex partners, and is expected to approve the plan. Lambda Legal Staff Attorney Tara Borelli says, “Other cities should follow Redmond’s lead by recognizing that their dedicated lesbian and gay employees deserve equal pay for equal work.”
This victory comes just two months after the neighboring city of Bellevue voted to extend similar benefits to its city employees in response to Lambda Legal’s lawsuit on behalf of two firefighters and a 911 dispatcher.