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The San Diego City Council on October 18 unanimously approved an "equal benefits ordinance" proposed by openly gay District 3 councilmember Todd Gloria. The measure requires city contractors to provide domestic partners of employees the same benefits they currently provide to spouses of employees.

The ordinance was unanimously recommended for approval by the Committee on Rules, Open Government and Intergovernmental Relations on June 30. The ordinance also received endorsements from the City’s Human Relations Commission and Citizens’ Equal Opportunity Commission. Three individuals spoke in favor; none spoke in opposition.

San Francisco was the first city to implement an equal benefits ordinance. Other cities with a similar ordinance include Los Angeles, West Hollywood, Oakland, Berkeley, Atlanta, Salt Lake City, Seattle, Minneapolis, and Miami Beach.

Gloria said that it comes down to “equal pay for equal work.” If contractors do not offer benefits to married employees, they will not be required to offer benefits to employees in domestic partnerships.

District 5 councilmember Carl DeMaio, the San Diego City Council's other openly gay member, often opposes Gloria on issues, but DeMaio said before voting, “Today the City of San Diego takes a stand for its part on behalf of full equality. I think this is something that's very thoughtful and practical.”

District 6 councilmember Donna Frye praised Gloria for sponsoring the ordinance and for his continued efforts on behalf of equal rights. Looking at Gloria, Frye said, “The actions you bring will be remembered for decades.”

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