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Cleveland lawmaker wants to extend healthcare to gay partners of city employees

Cleveland lawmaker wants to extend healthcare to gay partners of city employees

A Cleveland city councilman has introduced legislation that would extend healthcare benefits to domestic partners of city employees.

Councilman Joe Cimperman introduced the legislation and said that, although he also knows it will be a hard sell to council members who oppose the bill, it appears he has enough support to see it passed.

Council members were expected to assign the ordinance to at least one city committee, and Cimperman said as many as three — the finance, health and employment, and legislative committees — could consider its merits.

Cimperman said major firms like the Cleveland Clinic and Medical Mutual already offer health care to their domestic partner employees, and he said the city should follow suit. He also said 21 states, 404 Fortune 1000 companies and about 4,000 other private firms, nonprofits and unions provide the same benefits.

“There’s no reason this ordinance shouldn’t pass,” he said. “Cleveland has the four best health systems in the country … plus we have the Gay Games coming here in 2014 with over 50,000 visitors coming to our city.”

Cleveland has approximately 120 unmarried couples on its domestic partner registry, first made available in May 2009 as a means of providing couples insurance. An effort led by local pastors to repeal the registry failed due to lack of support.

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