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Equal benefits proposal clears city committee

A proposal to require contractors doing business with the city of San Diego to offer workers in a domestic partnership the same benefits given to married employees was advanced Wednesday by a City Council committee.

The Rules, Open Government and Intergovernmental Relations Committee voted unanimously to direct the City Attorney’s Office to draft the language for the so-called Equal Benefits Ordinance to be brought before the full City Council for consideration.

Councilman Todd Gloria, who proposed the measure, said the goal is “equal pay for equal work.”

“It’s the right thing to do,” he told the committee. “This sends a statement about the city’s inherent fairness.”

No one spoke in opposition to the proposed ordinance, under which companies that hold city contracts and offer health insurance and other benefits to married employees’ spouses would have to offer the same coverage to workers’ domestic partners.

If a contractor did not offer benefits to its married employees, it would not be required to offer benefits to employees in a domestic partnership.

Similar laws have been enacted in Los Angeles, Berkeley, Oakland, Sacramento and the state of California.

It wasn’t immediately known when the proposed ordinance would go before the full City Council.