The Lansdowne Borough, Pa., city council has approved protections in employment and other areas based on sexual orientation and gender identity. In addition, the council and the mayor voted to extend health insurance and other benefits to the domestic partners of employees in this town of 11,000 located in Philadelphia's western suburbs.
"Lansdowne is beginning to have more openly gay people, and this sends a message out that everyone is welcome here," said council member Kevin Lee, who added that the town has been known for its conservative politics for decades. "This is an amazing thing for this to happen in this area."
In the unanimous vote, the borough's equal employment opportunity statement will include protections based on an individual's familial and veteran's status, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, and use or training of guide dog animals.
The extension of domestic-partner benefits to unmarried, committed adult couples of any gender or sexual orientation will provide a level playing field in the workplace, city officials said. It will also serve to provide equal pay for equal work among its employees. Hundreds of companies, universities, state and local governments have already seen the benefit of such inclusions.