Below is breaking news from Local 6 channel in Orlando about the granting of benefits to partners of gay city employees. But do any of us here living in St Petersburg dare hope this would ever happen in a city headed by a Republican mayor, Rick Baker, who has steadfastly opposed LGBT rights? The answer: only when he leaves office. The simple fact is that Rick Baker and his fellow supporters refuse to see the pragmatism that underlies the granting of such benefits: to attract the most talented prospective employees and retain them. And all this posturing flies in the face of the obvious visibility of the GLBT community in St Petersburg, ranging from the largest annual gay pride celebration in Florida to a gay-dominated bustling commercial district on Central Avenue. Above is a youtube video regarding the larger significance of domestic partnership in the context of equal rights for all American citizens.
ORLANDO TO ISSUE GAY PARTNER BENEFITS
ORLANDO, Fla. -- Orlando is expected to become the first Central Florida city to offer benefits to the partners of gay employees. Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer said the employees will have to sign an affidavit declaring they are in a committed relationship. Orlando city commissioners are expected to approve the plan on Monday. There are currently 18 Orlando city employees who would benefit from the measure, which would cost the city about $37,000.
Although Orlando may be the first city in Central Florida to adopt the policy, the city is not the first in Florida. "It's going to be a good thing. It shows we're progressive. It will help us attract good people. Benefits are an important package if you're going to work for government, and this will help us compete with other government agencies," Orlando City Commissioner Patty Sheehan said. The domestic-partner benefits will apply only to same-sex couples because unmarried heterosexual couples have the option to get married, Dyer said.