Redmond City Council Votes to Extend Family Benefits to City Employees with Same-Sex Partner

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Dedicated lesbian and gay employees deserve equal pay for equal work
July 18, 2007

(Redmond, WA, July 18, 2007)— In response to a demand letter sent by Lambda Legal, the City of Redmond has joined a growing number of Eastside communities, including Bellevue and Newcastle, to offer family benefits to employees with same-sex domestic partners.

Lambda Legal had threatened the city with legal action on behalf of two veteran city police officers, Cmdr. Kristi Wilson and Lt. Betsy Lawrence. In a strongly worded letter to the city on June 19, the organization called on city leaders to heed years of requests on the part of both employees and several unions, and grant equal benefits to all employees.

"We are pleased that Redmond has joined its municipal neighbors and other mainstream employers by adopting an equal family benefits plan for its gay and lesbian employees, said Lambda Legal Staff Attorney Tara Borelli. “Other cities should follow Redmond's lead by recognizing that their dedicated lesbian and gay employees deserve equal pay for equal work."

Commander Kristi Wilson has been a police officer for 20 years, 14 of that with the City of Redmond. She is raising two young children with her partner of eight years, who is a stay-at-home mom and has no health insurance. That’s why, when Kristi was diagnosed with breast cancer in January, she realized how vulnerable her family would have been if her partner had been diagnosed instead.

Lieutenant Betsy Lawrence has worked for the City of Redmond for 16 of her 23 years in law enforcement. Betsy and her partner of four years were married in Canada in 2004, and are raising five children together. While three of their children are covered under Betsy’s insurance, her partner and two of their children are denied coverage under the city’s health plan.

Lambda Legal Staff Attorney Tara Borelli and Lambda Legal Senior Counsel Jennifer C. Pizer have been retained as counsel by Wilson and Lawrence.

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Jason Howe: 213-382-7600, ext. 247; Cell: 415-595-9245; [email protected].

Lambda Legal is a national organization committed to achieving full recognition of the civil rights of lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, transgender people and those with HIV through impact litigation, education and public policy work.


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