The city of Lakewood has extended health care benefits to
same-sex couples employed at Lakewood City Hall.
The plan has been in the works for a while — think nearly 14 years.
Effective Jan. 1, 2014, the city will offer health and welfare benefits to include eligibility to same-sex domestic partners and their dependent children.
“I have a feeling members of the community will be excited about this,” said at-large councilwoman Monique Smith, noting that “public opinion shows support for all types of families.”
Smith said she worked with Mayor Michael Summers to approve the changes. The city had — over time — amended its policies, ordinances and collective bargaining agreements to “root out discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identification.”
“We’re not doing anything unique or unusual with these changes,” Smith said.
The policies include health and prescription coverage, FMLA and sick leave usage, and funeral leave.
“Our life insurance policy already recognizes a domestic partner benefit, and this is the next logical step,” Smith said.
Fewer than an estimated 10 people at city hall are expected to take advantage.
About a dozen in attendance at the council meeting erupted in applause when the measure was approved.
That was quite a contrast when the first time such legislation was introduced in Lakewood in 1999. The legislation that was introduced then was voted down, after what turned out to be acrimonious and contentious meetings at the time.
“This is a great step forward for (the) community,” said council president Brian Powers. “It’s a long time coming.”
Other council members shared the sentiment.
“It’s a timely thing to do, it’s the right thing to do,” said Ward 4 councilwoman Mary Louise Madigan.