US: City measure introduced to allow same-sex married couples full marriage benefits
A measure has been introduced in the city of Richmond, Virginia which would allow employees of the city in same-sex marriages to receive the same benefits as straight married couples.
The measure, introduced by City Council members Parker Agelasto, Chris Hilbert, and Council President Charles Samuels, would mean that same-sex married couples married in other states would receive the full benefits of married couples.
Councilman Agelasto said: “I’m doing [this] simply because it’s the right thing to do.” He went on to say that this measure is not an attempt to change Virginia law, but is intended to avoid discrimination and to acknowledge same-sex couples already married.
“The Federal Government has no ability to discriminate benefits to these same-sex spouses who have legal marriages regardless of where they live,” he says.
“We can’t pick and choose which population what to apply it to, and what not to apply it to,” Agelasto says. “That’s the first definition of discrimination. And that’s why I feel we need to take this step with City Employees.”
If passed, the city-wide ordinance would mean that benefits would be included in the 2015 budget year.
Pastor Steve Parson of the Richmond Christian Center said he wanted the law to stay the same, calling the ordinance wrong.
“We’re glad about that. We’d like it to stay the same,” Parson says. “I’m one who feels laws shouldn’t be changed because society is changing. Let the law stay like it is.”
This new poll data represents a shift, as back in April, a poll revealed that, despite rising support for equal marriage overall across the US, voters in the state of Virginia still marginally opposed it.
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