Monday, May 08, 2006

Illinois Governor Extends DP Benefits To State Employees

Governor Rod Blagoyevich (D), running for re-election against a pro gay rights Republican, signed an executive order extending health benefits to same-sex domestic partners, making Illinois the 13th state in the country to offer such benefits. Earlier this year, Gov. Blagoyevich signed a new law protecting gays and transgender persons from discrimination.

"By extending healthcare and benefits to domestic partners of state employees, Gov. Blagojevich is ensuring equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender citizens in the state's workforce. This should not be a privilege awarded to just those in a traditional marriage, but also people in committed long-term relationships," Rocco Claps, director of the state's Department of Human Rights, said in a statement.

Both the State of Indiana and the City of Indianapolis protect civilian government employees from discrimination on the basis of their sexual orientation or gender identity. Neither extends health benefits for same-sex domestic partners. An attempt a few years ago by then-city councilor Karen Celestino-Horseman to provide DP benefits for city workers was shot down by Republican council members, with councilor Jim Bradford leading the charge in opposition.

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