Workers sue Bellevue, open new front in WA gay rights fight
"Larry deGroen knew when he became a firefighter in Bellevue 12 years ago that the city wouldn't give his partner, Thomas Dixon, certain benefits it extends to the families of heterosexual employees. It was something deGroen was prepared to live with.
"But in late 2005, Dixon's father died. Instead of giving deGroen two days of paid funeral leave, as it would have for heterosexual workers, the city gave him none, according to a lawsuit he filed Tuesday with two other gay Bellevue emergency workers.
"'I started thinking, what if my partner passed away?' deGroen said. 'It was clear to me that they would treat him as if he was a stranger to me, and that's not something I'm OK with.'"