Washington Firefighters Sue For Same-Sex Partner Benefits
(Bellevue, Washington) Three Bellevue, Washington firefighters filed suit Tuesday seeking family benefits for their same-sex partners. The lawsuit was filed in Superior Court for King County against the City of Bellevue. "Because our clients aren't allowed to marry according to Washington law, they are categorically denied the family benefits extended to married city employees for their different-sex partners," said Tara Borelli, the Lambda Legal Attorney representing the three.
Post by hoosiercop on Apr 18, 2007 21:14:33 GMT -5
I hope they win. Not sure what the chances are but the more places that give benefits, whether by force or by will, the more chance of other places doing the same. Though I still wonder how domestic benefits are done for same sex couples. I'd almost think youd have to let similar opposite sex couples get benefits as well. But how does an employer define the relationship. With married couples, the proof they are a true long term couple is the fact they are married. How do they give benefits to true life companions, but avoid someone taking advantage of the system with their boyfriend/girlfriend that they arent in a life relationship with. Anyone know the inner workings of such domestic partner benefit programs? I'm really curious how it works.
Im not sure of the mechanics of it, but I always wished that employees who didnt have families could elect one individual to receive health benefits,regardless of who they are.
If memory serves me correctly, this was the "compromise" reached in San Francisco when the Catholic Church balked at the proposed ordinance requiring the provision of "domestic partner" benefits to gay partners. By extending medical benefits to an individual "with whom the employee lives," withOUT identifying that person as a "partner" or anything else, the church felt it could accept the ordinance without specifically recognizing the gay partnership for what it is.
But the bottom line, of course, is cost. No employer wants to absorb any additional cost than it has to. Benefits for spouses and children wouldn't be the norm today had it not been for unions fighting for them during labor-management negotiations, back in the day when unions had the power and strength that they lack today. Those employers without unions had to either conform with these policies or find themselves at a disadvantage when it came to attracting employees. As a consequence, such benefits became generally accepted.
As more and more corporations extend benefits to the partners of gay employees, the practice will eventually become generally accepted by all but the most rabid anti-gay employers. And who would want to work for them anyway? Extending benefits to just any other person the employee may choose to designate just doesn't seem to be in the cards, at least not in a big way. There is no vocal lobby for it and, as I said earlier, there is a cost to the employer that most will not willingly absorb unless there's a good business reason to do so.
Post by 1dbigjim563 on Apr 23, 2007 12:48:03 GMT -5
Well, this was a while ago. As memory serves it was before the rash of scandles involving pedophile priests so it was easier for the church to be sanctimonious.
Also, traditionally, San Francisco has always had a large share of people of Irish and Italian ancestry, and where they went in the 19th and 20th centuries, the church folowed right along. The Catholic Church held a huge sway over many major American cities in the last century, due mainly to the fact that so many Europen immigrants were Catholic.
When I was growing up in Chicago, 45 percent of the population identified as Catholic, and in those days that didn't mean paying lip service to your religion, it meant you'd better be in church on Sunday, and closely following the words of the Bishops and priests.
Through a good part of the last century the Chancery of the Archdiocese of New York (for the uninitiated, sort of the HQ building for the Catholic Church in the greater New York area -- works if you think of all the parishes as district or precint houses) was known simply as "The Power House," and not becuae it was a Con Ed substation. There was also a time when the right word from diocese of Brooklyn was an automatic in to the job on the New York Fire Department.
In the last century, particularly in the north east and north central parts of the country the Catholic sons (and occassionally daughters though unless they were spinsters they were expected to stay home and raise the kids -- and if they were spinsters probably taught in the public schools foisting off their brand of morality on a lot of unssuspecting non-catholics) of Catholic immigrants populated the big, powerful Democratic machines that ran the cities, so yeah, the Catholic church had a lot sway in a lot of places.
BennTenn, you wrote, "and how were they allowed to participate considering the separaration of church/state?"
Well, the same way the Jerry Falweels, Pat Robertson, Souther Baptist Convention and all the other narrow minded chest thumpers of today can coerce government into taking their position concerning Gay Rights. Just who do you think all the neo-cons who are so engrained in the current administration are anyway? Brother, it's the same church, just a different pew. Blame Constantine if you want to, but the church, hell any church, has seen it as its right to meddle in government since the begining of the Holy Roman Empire, wheher its lead by a Pope, and elected elder, the head of a conference, a Bishop or Archbishop, the head of a synod; doesn't realy matter. They don't see the United States as a secular, multicultural society. They see it as a Christian nation (TFB for the Jews, Muslims and other non-Christians) whose might comes from God because he like us better than the other guys (who ever they are) as long as we keep the sodomites uder control. Please these people would still be doing ritualistic human sacrifice if they thought they could get away with with it.
New GLBT liaison to focus on outreach to the community
While attending college, Sgt. J.B. Wallace never intended to become a paramedic.
It was only after she earned a bachelor of science in psychology and sociology from the University of Maryland in 1985 that Wallace decided to take a break before grad school and ended up taking a first-aid class.
''I was just hooked,'' says Wallace, a 56-year-old lesbian who lives in Adelphi, Md., with her partner of 27 years.
Wallace has been saving lives as a paramedic in Washington for nearly two decades now, and credits her passion for wanting to fix things, as well as being a ''control freak,'' as the driving force behind her long-lasting career.
Jury Awards $6.2M In Los Angeles Firefighter Discrimination Suit
July 4, 2007 LOS ANGELES (AP) - A jury awarded $6.2 million to a firefighter who said she was harassed by colleagues because she is black and lesbian.
Brenda Lee's lawsuit against the Fire Department claimed her superiors made derogatory comments about her and put her through grueling drills without proper safety precautions because of her race and sexual orientation.
She also alleged that someone put urine in her mouthwash.
The jury payout was the largest in a string of recent settlements of cases alleging discrimination and retaliation against women and minorities within the Fire Department.
Gay Activists skeptical given department’s history
The D.C. Fire & Emergency Medical Services Department is committed to treating gay and transgender citizens with respect and inclusiveness, the department’s new gay liaison officer said this week.
Sgt. Jane “JB” Wallace, who was appointed June 14 as the department’s first Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Liaison Officer, said incidents in the past, where firefighters and paramedics made disparaging remarks about gay and transgender persons and refused to administer medical treatment to them, will no longer be tolerated.
“Under our new chief, it is clearly understood that this department will not tolerate any mistreatment of any group whatsoever,” Wallace said. “If you can’t put your own feelings aside and treat people with the respect that they deserve, then you don’t belong in this department.”
Wallace and the department’s director of public affairs, Tony Dorsey, said Fire Chief Dennis Rubin, whom Mayor Adrian Fenty appointed in March, has a record of strong support for diversity training on gay- and transgender-related issues within the department for all employees.
Wallace and Dorsey said Rubin has disclosed to his top officials in the department that his longstanding personal commitment to equal treatment for gays and transgender persons is buttressed by the fact that one of Rubin’s two daughters is a lesbian.
Fire chiefs in Bristol today launched a two-day conference to discover how to make the service more open to lesbians, gays, and bisexuals.Avon Fire and Rescue Service has invited delegates from around the world and firefighters from across the UK to attend the debate, entitled Lesbians, Gays, Bisexuals and Transgender Equality in the Fire Service - an absolute taboo?
This comes after four firefighters were disciplined for allegedly disturbing a gay sex session at an area on The Downs which is popular with "doggers", people who engage in outdoor sex.
As exclusively revealed in the Evening Post, the firemen - formerly members of Blue Watch at Avonmouth fire station - were accused of shining their torches into undergrowth and witnessed a man engaging in sexual activity with other men.
Following a three-month investigation, they have been charged with bringing the service into disrepute and the misuse of fire equipment after a gay man complained that the firemen's actions were homophobic.
As well as being fined up to £1,000 and stripped of their rank, the four also have to attend the conference, at Holland House Hotel, near St Mary Redcliffe Church.
It was opened this morning by Avon's chief fire officer, Kevin Pearson.
In a statement welcoming delegates to Bristol, he wrote: "We are hoping to break new ground with our conference, which has been designed to increase understanding and appreciation of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender issues.
We are searching for GLBT firefighters and EMS professionals who are willing to share their stories in our next edition of "Coming Out From Behind The Badge." I think firefighters might have the most difficult time of all of us in public safety being who they are on the job. The best strategy for creating change is for more GLBT firefighters to come out and to be role models. www.comingoutfrombehindthebadge.com for more information.
Last Edit: Jan 25, 2009 13:38:49 GMT -5 by gmiraglia
I'll be in touch with some contact information for the founder of the first gay/lesbian Firefighter organization in the world. He has an amazing story to tell. He and his partner will be featured on Blue Pride Radio in the not too distant future.
All Blue Pride members are reminded to adhere to our terms of service....