May 1, 2013 at 4:20 pm EDT | by Staff reports
Philadelphia LGBT health coverage expanded
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, gay news, Washington Blade

Philadelphia skyline (Photo public domain)

PHILADELPHIA — The Philadelphia City Council last week passed a bill offering tax incentives to businesses that expand health coverage for LGBT employees, a measure hailed as the first of its kind, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported last weekend.

The bill extends rights to “life partners” throughout the city code in a wide range of matters such as medical decision-making, gender neutrality on certain city forms and more. It also requires health insurance offered to city employees to cover the needs of transgender workers including gender reassignment surgery, the article said.

“The spirit of the bill acknowledges people’s humanity, acknowledges their citizenship and their full rights to participate,” Council member James F. Kenney, the prime sponsor, was quoted as saying in the Inquirer. “It’s another step in the road of civil rights equality.”

The bill features two tax credits. One is for businesses that extend health benefits to employees’ life partners and their children, the same as they would to spouses and children. The second is for companies that make health coverage available for transgender care, the Inquirer said.

Pennsylvania state law does not include workplace protections for residents and there is no form of relationship recognition for same-sex couples in the state. The bill passed by a 14-3 vote, with Republican Council members David Oh and Brian J. O’Neill and Democrat Bill Green voting against, according to the Inquirer.

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