The New York City council has voted 41-4 to override Mayor Michael Bloomberg's veto of the Equal Benefits Bill. The move requires that companies with city contracts of $100,000 or more provide the same benefits to employees in same-sex partnerships that are provided to straight married employees.
"The city council has said unequivocally that all workers must be treated equally by employers who do business with the city," said Pride Agenda executive director Alan Van Capelle. "Tens of thousands of LGBT families will now have access to the same benefits other families have and will no longer be left out in the cold to fend for themselves."
Benefits include health insurance; family, medical and bereavement leave; tuition reimbursement; moving and relocation expenses; and dependent care insurance. An override requires the support of 34, or two thirds, of the council's 51 members.
Bloomberg could still follow through on his threat to block implementation of the bill by challenging its provisions in court. The bill takes effect in 120 days and affects only new and renewed city contracts. Similar to a law enacted in San Francisco in 1997, the new law is written to accommodate rather than penalize contractors who make efforts to comply with the law.