Calif. Gov Signs Equal Benefits Law

By Trudy Ring

Originally published on Advocate.com September 06 2011 8:15 PM ET

California governor Jerry Brown today signed into law a bill requiring businesses that have large contracts with the state to provide equal spousal benefits for all employees, gay and straight.

The legislation, authored by lesbian state senator Christine Kehoe (pictured) and backed by LGBT rights group Equality California, prohibits the state from entering into a contract of more than $100,000 with businesses or other entities that deny same-sex spouses the benefits offered to opposite-sex spouses of employees. The bill passed the state legislature last month.

“Providing the same benefits to an employee with a domestic partner, or same-sex or opposite-sex spouse ensures that workers receive equal pay for equal work,” Kehoe said in a press release. “California should lead the way for other employers to provide benefits that are nondiscriminatory.”

“The state’s tax dollars earned by hardworking Californians should not be invested in companies that unfairly discriminate against LGBT people and their families,” added Roland Palencia, executive director of Equality California.