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Florida county passes equal benefits ordinance inclusive of same-sex partners

Florida county passes equal benefits ordinance inclusive of same-sex partners

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — The Broward County Commission on Tuesday voted unanimously to approve Florida’s first countywide Equal Benefits Ordinance (EBO), a measure that requires the county’s vendors to provide domestic partners with benefits equal to those offered to spouses of married employees.

In enacting the ordinance, Broward County adopts one of the nation’s most significant policies furthering workplace equality.

“This is a big win,” said Stratton Pollitzer, deputy director of Equality Florida, the state’s oldest gay-rights group.

“This ordinance puts Broward’s domestic-partner policies among the very strongest in the county. If you want to do business with Broward County, you must treat domestic partners and married employees equally,” Pollitzer said.

Broward is the first county Florida to adopt an EBO. In 2005 Miami Beach became the first city in the state to pass an EBO, and the Miami Beach policy has been praised by the city commission and the staff, while reporting no negative fiscal impact.

The EBO applies to companies who are in contracts of $100,000 or more with the county and who have 5 or more employees. If a company does not currently provide benefits to the spouses of their employees, then they are not required to provide benefits to the domestic partners of their employees.

If companies are not able to provide benefits to domestic partners, they may provide the cash equivalent to the employee and still meet the requirements of the EBO.

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