It looks like Pembroke Pines is joining the likes of Palm Beach and Boca Raton in offering domestic partner benefits for its gay employees.
After an independent firm's cost/benefits numbers were heard, the city's five commissioners unanimously agreed to extend the same benefits to employees in domestic partnerships as those who are married.
In August of last year, the Town Council of Palm Beach voted to extend benefits for domestic partnerships, including health and dental insurance coverage, bereavement leave, illness in the immediate family leave, family and medical leave, and domestic violence leave.
Likewise, in September, the Boca Raton City Council updated a nearly 50-year old anti-discrimination policy when it voted 4-1 to extend the full range of domestic partnership benefits, including health, dental, and vision insurance, to its municipal employees as well as to continue insurance coverage, funeral leave, domestic violence leave, family sick leave, and domestic partner leave.
An independent actuarial firm estimated it would cost Pembroke Pines about $1.16 million annually to extend the benefits, according to the Sun Sentinel.
Commissioner Iris Siple brought the domestic partnership item up for consideration months ago, and after many weeks of debate, officials finally came around.
City officials were determined to put Pembroke Pines on "the right side of history," as some put it, with Commissioner Carl Schecter, who was opposed to the idea at first, saying, "There is no separate but equal. You're either equal or you're not," per the Sentinel.