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"For a variety of reasons, companies are still able to provide limited benefits to partners of same sex couples," said Marc Solomon, marriage director for Equality California, at a June 30 meeting of San Diego's rules committee.

Solomon spoke to committee members on a proposed equal benefits ordinance for San Diego brought forth by District 3 councilmember Todd Gloria, who sat next to Solomon during his presentation. The proposed ordinance requires companies that work for the City to offer the same benefits for same-sex domestic partners as it does for those in heterosexual relationships, including health care, family medical leave, and retirement benefits.

The ordinance was modeled after the Equal Benefits Ordinance in Los Angeles. It states that city contractors will provide assurances to the City that benefits are offered to same-sex partners, give notice to all of their employees that these benefits are available, and allow access to company records to verify compliance. Similar ordinances have been enacted in Sacramento, San Francisco, Oakland, and Berkeley.

"[The Equal Benefits Ordinance] improves lives by eliminating discriminatory practices within a company," said Solomon during the presentation.

According to Solomon and councilmember Gloria, the ordinance will show that the City works with companies that are fair and unprejudiced. "This sends a statement about the City's inherent fairness," said Gloria, summarizing on behalf of the proposed ordinance.

After the presentation, the committee passed a motion giving direction for City staff and councilmember Gloria's office to draft an Equal Benefits Ordinance for the full city council to vote on at an upcoming meeting.

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