To: Rich Fitzgerald, County Chief Executive, Bill Peduto, Mayor, City of Pittsburgh, Bruce Kraus, President, Pittsburgh City Council, Jennifer Liptak, Allegheny County Executive, Chief of Staff, John DeFazio, President, Allegheny County Coun...
Don't Take Away Domestic Partner Benefits in Pennsylvania
Victory! The creator of this petition declared the campaign a success. You can still sign the petition to show support.
PA now has marriage equality, but does not have statewide non-discrimination protections based on sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression. Municipal governments should NOT eliminate domestic partnership benefits for their employees until the ground is level statewide with regard to discrimination.
Why is this important?
My partner has been an employee of the City of Pittsburgh for 14 years. She has worked hard and has an excellent reputation as a civil servant. For the past 8 years, we have been able to access domestic partner benefits including health insurance.
Pennsylvania is the only marriage equality state that does not have statewide non-discrimination protections for sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression. This means couples who live in Allegheny County (or Pittsburgh) with one partner working across the county border face a terrible decision - if they marry and create a public record of their sexual orientation, the partner working outside of the county could lose their job. This is not a level playing field with heterosexual unmarried couples. There are many other reasons people may not be able to simply get married in a 30 day period - issues related to stigma, familial rejection, poverty, and more.
Even so, Allegheny County has announced plans to eliminate domestic partner benefits effective July 31, 2014. They are requiring their same sex employees to marry and provide proof of their marriage by that date or benefits will cease on August 1, 2014. The City of Pittsburgh, the Pittsburgh Public Schools and other public employers have not yet disclosed their plans for domestic partner benefits, but Allegheny County's decision sets a terrible precedent.
We are asking for one simple thing - a commitment to continue offering domestic partner benefits until we achieve statewide non-discrimination protection. We ask these leaders to support their employees and acknowledge that the freedom to marry is not quite complete. Forcing us to marry - especially with only 30 days notice - is unfair, unreasonable and untenable for a progressive, inclusive and respectful workplace.
We hope the plaintiffs in the Whitewood case will stand with us and not ask us to sacrifice our benefits for their marriages.
We hope Equality PA will show leadership to protect the existing domestic partner benefits of municipal employees while pushing for statewide non-discrimination.
We hope our transgender and queer siblings, neighbors and friends will stand with us as we show that inequality is not simply fixed by marriage equality.
Stand behind HB 300/SB 300 and stand behind the hundreds of hard working employees who have help to build our region with their talent, time and skills. Don't punish us because the Commonwealth hasn't done the work of creating an equal playing ground. Don't force us to get married. That's not why these families went to court and it is not what marriage equality is supposed to create.
We are actively seeking signatures from Pennsylvania residents, but we welcome the support and solidarity of other US citizens and residents. Please don't hesitate to sign. Mr. Fitzgerald, Mr. Peduto and others should know exactly who is paying attention to this issue.