Friday
July 20, 2007
V 35 Issue 29

 
 
search only SGN online
Saturday, Feb 17, 2018

Lobby

 





 
Cost of the
War in Iraq
(JavaScript Error)
Redmond to extend benefits to same-sex partners of employees
Redmond to extend benefits to same-sex partners of employees
Unanimous vote comes after threat from Lambda Legal

by Devin Glaser - SGN Contributing Writer

The Redmond City Council voted unanimously Wednesday, July 17th to extend their current benefits to their employee's same-sex partners in domestic partnerships. The decision came in response to the threat of a lawsuit by Lambda Legal on behalf of veteran police officers Commander Kristi Wilson and Lt. Betsy Lawrence.

"We are pleased that Redmond has joined its municipal neighbors and other mainstream employers by adopting an equal family benefits plan for its Gay and Lesbian employees," said Staff Attorney Tara Borelli in a Lambda Legal press release. "Other cities should follow Redmond's lead by recognizing that their dedicated Lesbian and Gay employees deserve equal pay for equal work."

The Redmond City Council staff is currently preparing a plan to be voted on during their next meeting August 21st. Same-sex family members of non-union employees could potentially have benefits as early as the next day.

Wilson has spent 14 of her 20 years as a police officer working for the City of Redmond. Lawrence has been with the city 16 of her 23 years. Both have been petitioning the Council for equal benefits since 2002. "I think it's grossly unfair that they provide a benefit to the majority of the employees of the city but they exclude us from that process. It gives us the impression that they treat our families differently," Wilson said in an interview with the Seattle Gay News. "We are essentially not being paid at the same compensation rate as all of the other employees. We are receiving a lesser benefit than they are. It's not a new benefit; it's a benefit that they already offer the rest of the city."

Wilson's desire to see equal coverage for her partner of eight years increased drastically after she was diagnosed with breast cancer in January. Her partner, who is a stay-at-home mom for their two children, is uninsured.

"Probably the biggest problem, which reinforces the need for health care, is my partner doesn't have adequate health care," stated Wilson. "So for me, the fortunate thing was that the city covered my surgery and treatment, but my partner wouldn't have any medical care through them. And the financial expense of not having medical care, through the surgeries and the treatment, literally would have bankrupted us." Lawrence's family and partner of four years are equally in jeopardy. While Lawrence's insurance covers her and three of their five children, her partner and two children were all denied coverage by the city. The City of Redmond is one of many cities offering benefits for their Gay, Lesbian and Bisexual employees. Bellevue, Newcastle, and Seattle, all provide fair benefits to city employees.

"This is an issue that people need to take on personally in their places of employment to get it changed so that everybody has this benefit," said Wilson. "We are in a great opportunity for change right now. I think we need to use the resources that we have available to institutionalize this across the board. It is 2007; we shouldn't be talking about this. It should already be in place."

Staff Writer Lisa Wardle contributed to this report.

ads

ads
ads
ads
ads
ads
ads
ads
ads
ads
SGN
Seattle Gay Blog
post your own information on
the Seattle Gay Blog


copyright Seattle Gay News - DigitalTeamWorks 2007