PITTSBURGH — A western Pennsylvania county is pushing back a deadline for its employees to marry their same-sex partners in order for those partners to keep health care and other benefits.
Allegheny County has 11 employees with same-sex partners receiving benefits, which were to be terminated Aug. 1.
The county came under fire last month by gay rights advocates, who said giving the couples fewer than 45 days to get married or lose their benefits was an unreasonable expectation.
County Executive Rich Fitzgerald agreed, and said the deadline was “too aggressive.” Employees will now be given through June 30, 2015 to marry.
Allegheny County officials are changing the same-sex benefits policy now that a federal judge has allowed same-sex couples to marry in Pennsylvania.
The county once limited benefits to those married to county employees, but made an exception years ago for same-sex partners because they couldn’t marry.
Now that same-sex couples can marry, the county is limiting benefits to spouses of employees.