Companies must treat domestic partners and married couples equally

Just moments ago the Broward County Commission voted unanimously to approve Florida's first countywide Equal Benefits Ordinance (EBO), a measure that requires the county's vendors to provide domestic partners with benefits equal to those offered to spouses of married employees. In other words, if you want to do business with Broward County, you must treat domestic partners and married employees equally. This amazing victory is the culmination of more than a year's work on the part of Equality Florida and local organizers. 

By enacting this ordinance, Broward County adopts one of the nation's most significant policies furthering workplace equality. Today, Broward County continues its long history of leadership in the area of human rights by delivering on the promise of equal pay for equal work.

Broward is the first county Florida to adopt an EBO. In 2005 Miami Beach became the first city in the state to pass an EBO, and the Miami Beach policy has been praised by the city commission and the staff, while reporting no negative fiscal impact.

The ordinance places Broward County's domestic partnership policies among the strongest in the country. In recent years EBOs have been adopted as a state law in California, and in the cities of San Diego, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Olympia, Minneapolis, and Portland. The ordinance was introduced by Mayor Sue Gunzburger and was co-sponsored by all members of the commission.

The EBO applies to companies who are in contracts of $100,000 or more with the county and who have 5 or more employees. If a company does not currently provide benefits to the spouses of their employees, then they are not required to provide benefits to the domestic partners of their employees.

If companies are not able to provide benefits to domestic partners, they may provide the cash equivalent to the employee and still meet the requirements of the EBO.

Special thanks to our Broward Coalition partners who made up our winning team: the Pride Center, Sunserve, the Dolphin Democrats, the GLBT Democratic Caucus, and the many community leaders who stood with us.

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