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Domestic Partner Benefits OK’d For Coral Gables’ LGBT Employees

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(Source: CBS4)

(Source: CBS4)

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CORAL GABLES (CBSMiami) – LGBT employees working for the city of Coral Gables will now get the same benefits as straight employees.

CBS4 news partner The Miami Herald reports the measure was approved unanimously at a Tuesday meeting of the Coral Gables City Commission.

Commissioner Ralph Cabrera opined that the move toward accepting the ordinance took too long, “however we have finally done the right thing for our employees,” he said.

CJ Ortuño, SAVE Dade’s executive director, applauded the commission’s vote.

“The Coral Gables City Commission took a bold step today for equality, acknowledging that equal benefits for equal work is a core value in our community. Coral Gables workers can now feel safe that their public officials will stand with them,” he said in a statement.

The ordinance, which recognizes domestic partnerships and offers benefits such as sick leave, family leave and bereavement leave to city employees with domestic partners, comes after Coral Gables Police Department Major Rene Tastet filed a complaint last year with the city manager’s office saying she was denied bereavement leave when the father of her partner died.

The Fraternal Order of Police and the ACLU of Florida supported the ordinance, along with SAVE Dade.

In a statement, Tastet, who said she plans to retire next year, expressed satisfaction with the outcome.

“I have been a police officer with the city for 22 years and today I finally have the same rights as my fellow officers. I did not fully appreciate the negative impact of not having these benefits until my partner’s father suddenly passed away and I was denied the bereavement leave benefit offered to all other city employees. Because of my tenure I was fortunate to have accrued leave of my own but I was extremely upset that I was not being treated fairly.

“The decision to pursue this, which ended up taking a year-and-a-half, was not easy for me,” Tastet said. “Although I knew I would not be fired, my career and position as an acting major within the police department is important to me and I feared the unknown that even today many gay people still experience.”

With this week’s action, Coral Gables joins seven other cities in the county — Miami, Miami Beach, North Miami, North Bay Village, Miami Shores, South Miami and Palmetto Bay — in offering domestic partner benefits for the LGBT community.

(©2012 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. CBS4 news partner The Miami Herald contributed material for this report.)

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