Los Angeles County will begin offering health insurance benefits to employees’ unmarried partners and their dependents, the Board of Supervisors voted.
With the decision, made Tuesday in closed session on a 4-1 vote as part of a much larger fringe benefits agreement with its union, the county will join the city of Los Angeles, many local entertainment companies and other firms in offering benefits to both unmarried heterosexual couples and to homosexual couples.
“This is not a major item to the county organization as a whole, but it means a lot to a person who gets the benefit,” said Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky, who sponsored the motion. “This is mainstream in America.”
“We decided there would be no separate but equal here,” Yaroslavsky said. The board’s action approved the larger agreement and directed county officials to return to the board with the necessary approvals to begin offering the Supervisor Michael Antonovich complained the $800,000 annual cost could be better applied elsewhere within the county’s $12.5 billion budget, such as toward law enforcement.
The fringe benefit package will affect about 70,000 employees.
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