Mayor Michael A. Nutter signed Bill No. 110057, which requires certain City service contractors to offer the same benefits to the life partners of their employees as are offered to the spouses of married employees. Bill No. 110057, or the Equal Benefits Bill, will take effect July 1, 2012. Councilwoman Blondell Reynolds Brown, Rue Landau, Executive Director of the Philadelphia Commission on Human Relations and Gloria Casarez, Director of the Office of Lesbian, Gay, Bi-Sexual and Transgender Affairs were also present for the bill signing.
“For 13 years, City employees have been eligible to receive benefits for their life partners. The Equal Benefits Bill is a natural extension of that recognition,” said Mayor Nutter. “The City of Philadelphia is an ally to the LGBT community and will continue to show support against issues of inequality.”
The bill provides that contractors, who enter into a service contract with the City of Philadelphia for an amount of $250,000 or more, must extend the same employment benefits to the life partner of employees as it does to the spouses of employees. In order to be eligible for equal benefits, employees must meet the standard of proof for a life partnership.
Councilwoman Blondell Reynolds Brown, who introduced the legislation, said, “In the 21st Century, the battle for equal rights needs to end with equality being the victor. With the enactment of this bill we have taken one more important step to ensure that all Philadelphians who are ‘created equal’ are treated equal. Judging one’s employment benefits due to the gender of their life partner is not acceptable in this day and age. Period. We have changed that standard through the Equal Benefits Bill.”
“The purpose of the law is simple – equal treatment,” explained Rue Landau. “Its passage would fall in line with the strong history of commitment the City has to promoting equality for LGBT community.”
Each eligible City service contractor must notify all employees of this extended benefit provision. If a City service contractor does not comply with the provisions, the City will find the contract breach. As a result, the contractor may be suspended or debarred from bidding on or participating in City contracts for up to three years. Under certain circumstances, the City of Philadelphia can exempt a service contractor from compliance.