Allentown Approves Domestic Partnership Benefits

Gay and lesbian city employees and their same-sex partners now get medical benefits

Courtesy of City Council of Allentown

Yesterday, the City Council in Allentown, the third-largest city in Pennsylvania – about 60 miles from downtown Philadelphia – extended medical benefits to same-sex partners of city employees. The bill applies to the Service Employees International Union and nonunion managers who make up more than half of the city’s white-collar workforce – that’s about 1,000 city employees, according to the Pennsylvania Diversity Network. At this time, those who are not covered by the bill include firefighters and police officers.

According to the Morning Call, the measure covers all other city employees and their same-sex partners who are both active and retired. The bill also allows gays and lesbians to take Family Medical Leave for an ailing or dying partner.

The city is reviewing additional measures that would allow same-sex partners access to pensions in the event of a city worker’s death. The council is also considering extending the same measure to heterosexual domestic partners. The Morning Call also reported that the police and fire departments are considering whether to extend these rights to their workers and same-sex partners.

Other cities offering same-sex partner benefits in the state include Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and Harrisburg.