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City Council Mandates Equal Benefits for Domestic Partners

San Diego City Council members voted unanimously Monday to add the city to the list of California municipalities that requires their contractors to offer the same benefits to employee spouses and domestic partners.

Starting Jan. 1, any company entering into, extending or renewing a contract with the city will have to comply with the new law. That means any benefit offered to employees with opposite-sex spouses, like family leave and spousal health insurance, must also be offered to employees with same-sex domestic partners.

“What we’re trying to accomplish today, ladies and gentlemen, is equal pay for equal work,” said Councilman Todd Gloria when he introduced the ordinance at Monday’s council meeting.

The Equal Benefits Ordinance applies to contractors’ employees anywhere in San Diego or on city-owned property and to any employees elsewhere in the United States doing work on San Diego contracts.

“This is about respect. This is about understanding that we have a diverse city and we embracing that diversity,” said Councilman Tony Young. “It has taken us a long time to get to this point, but I whole-heartedly endorse this ordinance and think the citizens of San Diego should be proud that their council supports it.”

San Francisco passed the first Equal Benefits Ordinance in California in 1997. Since then Los Angeles, Long Beach, Berkeley, Oakland, Sacramento, San Mateo County and the state have followed suit.