BETHLEHEM, Pa. — St. Luke’s University Health Network, the second largest employer in Pennsylvania’s Lehigh Valley, said last week it would consider extending spousal benefits to employees in legal same-sex marriages, the Morning Call, a regional newspaper, reports.
The decision to reconsider was started after a petition from the Pennsylvania Diversity Network, which sent about 1,200 signatures to the network asking for the change, the article said. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s announcement last week that he would not fight a state ruling there allowing gay marriage, was part of the impetus, officials from St. Luke told the Morning Call.
Liz Bradbury, executive director for Pennsylvania Diversity Network, handed Kenneth Szydlow, St. Luke’s vice president of marketing, the petition after holding a news conference on the morning of Oct. 24 outside St. Luke’s Fountain Hill, Pa., campus, the paper noted.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, roughly 30 percent of workers in private industry and in government have access to health care benefits for same-sex unmarried partners.