September 18, 2013 | by Staff reports
Fla. lobbying efforts pay off after 7 years
Boca Raton, Florida, gay news, Washington Blade

The City Council of Boca Raton, Fla., voted to extend health insurance partner benefits to same-sex municipal employees. (Photo public domain)

WILTON MANORS, Fla. — The City Council of Boca Raton, Fla., voted 4-1 last week to update its 47-year-old anti-discrimination policy and extend the same health insurance partner benefits to same-sex municipal employees that it offers opposite-sex partners, South Florida Gay News reported.

Rand Hoch, president of the Palm Beach County Human Rights Council, had been lobbying the group for years, the paper reported.

Between Hoch’s first request seven years ago and the city’s vote to expand coverage last week, in January 2011 the city council voted to opt out of a Palm Beach County Equal Employment Ordinance that protected its LGBT employees from discrimination based on their sexual orientation, the Gay News reported.

“No city resident asked for this invidious action to be taken,” Hoch was quoted as having said in the Gay News article. He credited Ahnell and City Attorney Diana Grub Frieser with the legal maneuver in a press release.

“There is no record of any elected officials, anywhere in the United States of America, who have opted out of any civil rights laws in this century, and perhaps longer,” Hoch said in the article.

But during the vote to expand equal protection and insurance benefits for the city’s LGBT employees, however, Boca Deputy Mayor Susan Haynie, now a 2014 mayoral candidate, took a different position.

“I think it’s the right thing to do,” Haynie said, according to the South Florida Gay News report.

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