Last week, Allegheny County announced that all same-sex partners of county employees would have their domestic partner benefits cut off effective July 31.
Following an outcry from advocates and some receiving benefits that 30 days was not enough time to arrange for new coverage and/or legally marry, Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald has now extended the cut-off date to June 30, 2015.
“The July 31, 2014 date that was originally set is too aggressive,” Fitzgerald said in a statement. “Working through the Human Resources Department, the 11 employees currently receiving same sex partner benefits will have until June 30, 2015 to make the personal decision regarding whether to marry and formalize their relationship. All new county employees, however, will be required to follow the same policy regarding how and when benefits are offered to partners and families.”
The decision to drop the benefits followed a court decision that legalized same-sex marriage in Pennsylvania.
“Now that same sex marriage is legal in Pennsylvania, I believe that it is important to continue to keep our employees on equal footing and that means requiring proof of marriage for coverage of a spouse, partner and/or family members,” said Fitzgerald.
The city of Pittsburgh is reviewing policies in the wake of the same-sex marriage decision.