Key West Adopts Equal Benefits Law

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The Key West City Commission voted unanimously to pass an equal benefits ordinance that requires companies doing business with Key West to provide domestic partners with benefits equal to those offered to married employees. The law was drafted with the assistance of students in the Columbia Law School Sexuality and Gender Law Clinic. Broward County adopted a similar law in November, also drafted with the Clinic’s support. “The goal of an equal benefits ordinance is to ensure equal pay for equal work,” explained Hillary Schneller ’12, a clinic student who assisted in drafting the ordinance.  “An equal benefits ordinance requires contractors doing business with a local government to offer employees with spouses and employees with domestic partners the same benefits.”

Key West is the third Florida community to adopt an equal benefits ordinance, joining Broward County and Miami Beach, as well as, among others, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, Olympia, Seattle, and the state of California, which have passed similar laws. The Key West ordinance applies to companies that enter the city’s competitive bid process, which affects contracts with the city worth $20,000 or more.


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