Jump to content
The Talon House

Gays Get New Rights Today


Recommended Posts

Gays Get New Rights Today

by 365Gay.com Newscenter Staff

Posted: January 1, 2006 - 12:01 am ET

(Washington) LGBT communities in several states gain new rights today.

In California four laws went into effect at midnight, including the nation’s first law prohibiting discrimination against transgender individuals in health coverage.

The Insurance Gender Non-Discrimination Act, which prohibits insurance companies and health-care service plans from discriminating on the basis of gender in the creation or maintenance of service contracts, or the provision of benefits or coverage.

The Civil Rights Act of 2005 also goes into effect. The law adds sexual orientation, gender and marital status to California’s public accommodation non-discrimination laws. Some of the businesses that are subject to the law include shopping centers, mobile home parks, bars and restaurants, schools, medical and dental offices, hotels and motels, and condominium homeowners' associations.

The third piece of legislation, the Death Benefits Rights for Retired Public Employees Act, allows domestic partners of public employees who retired prior to Jan. 1, 2005, when California's comprehensive domestic partnership law (AB 205) went into effect, to receive death benefits if the retiree dies before their partner.

And the fourth law is the Property Tax Reappraisal Exclusion for Domestic Partners. It provides that a change in the title of property between domestic partners will be treated the same way a change in title of property between spouses is treated for property tax purposes. As a result, domestic partners will no longer face potentially enormous increases in their property taxes when their partner dies.

"The rights LGBT Californians will enjoy in 2006 are stronger than they have ever been," said Geoffrey Kors, Equality California Executive Director.

"As a result of these new laws, millions of LGBT people in California will now have legal protections that they lacked in the past, making California stronger as a result."

Illinois LGBT Civil Rights Law

In Illinois, a state law prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity became a reality Sunday, nearly a year after Gov. Rod Blagojevich signed it into law and more than three decades since state lawmakers first debated it.

Illinois joins 15 other states that have laws banning discrimination based on sexual orientation and is one of only seven states where the law protects transgender people.

The battle to ban sexual-orientation discrimination in Illinois began in the mid-1970s, when the first bills were introduced into the Legislature.

Though bill after bill went by the wayside, communities across the state began amending their own anti-discrimination laws to include sexual orientation. Champaign was the first in 1977, followed by Urbana, Chicago, eight other cities and Cook County.

Chicago-based Equality Illinois joined the fight in the early 1990s, making the anti-discrimination amendment its top priority. It took more than a dozen more years for the Legislature to make it happen.

"Illinois is not a trendsetter, but it's not a right-winger," said Rick Garcia, political director for Equality Illinois.

"We're not Massachusetts or California, but we're certainly not Alabama or Tennessee. ... Illinoisans are reasonable people. We are cautious, but we want to do the right thing."

The law allows people to file complaints with the Illinois Department of Human Rights if they believe they were denied a job, housing, public accommodation or credit.

Palm Beach Gay Municipal Workers

In Palm Beach County, Florida, an ordinance that went into effect at midnight offers the same employee benefits to its current and retired employees with domestic partners as it offers to married employees and retirees.

The move makes the county one of only a handful of municipalities in Florida to offer domestic partner benefits to its workers.

The ordinance provides sick leave benefits, bereavement leave, long term disability, as well as health, dental vision, and life insurance. Dependent children on an employee’s domestic partner would also be eligible for insurance coverage.

Palm Beach County employs approximately 6,000 workers.

©365Gay.com 2006


Link to comment
Share on other sites


This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

  • Create New...