BASD Passes Same-Sex Benefits

Progress:

The Bethlehem Area School District tonight announced it offers benefits to married same-sex couples.

Same-sex employees who marry in other states will be able to add their spouse to their district health insurance, Director Basilio Bonilla Jr. announced. Bonilla called it a momentous step forward.

“We’re not saying yours counts and yours doesn’t,”Superintendent Joseph Roy said of employee marriages.Roy said benefits won’t be extended to couples in domestic partnerships. The board did not take any action to make the policy change.

Roy explained that a gay employee, who is legally married in another state, recently asked to add a spouse to the employee’s health insurance. District officials made an administrative interpretation of the district’s health insurance benefits, which are described as one-party and two-party, Roy said.

One-party has always meant single, and two-party meant married couples, he said.

“(We decided) we wouldn’t discriminate against those with a valid marriage license from another state,” Roy said.

Congratulations to Basilio Bonilla and the rest of the BASD Directors who stepped up to do the right thing in the face of total failure on this issue from Harrisburg.

(Thanks: Sara Satullo)

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