Second Ward, Minneapolis

This is the public policy forum of Minneapolis Second Ward (Green) City Council Member Cam Gordon and his staff. We use this space to talk about some of what Cam’s working on, explain his positions, and share a little of what life in City Hall is like. Please feel free to comment on posts, within certain ground rules. See our disclaimer, including ground rules, here:

Friday, September 16, 2011

Life Time Fitness to Extend Benefits to Same-Sex Partners

Today, I received an email from Fire Department staff indicating that Life Time Fitness, the company that holds a City contract for health club memberships for Police and Fire staff, has reversed itself and will now cover domestic partners, both same-sex and opposite-sex, in their benefits program.

I can't help but think this is, at least in part, a reaction to the difficulty that the Council had back in April in waiving our Domestic Partnership ordinance to continue to do business with Life Time.  Here's what I wrote back then:
Waiver of Domestic Partnership Ordinance. I voted against granting a waiver of the City’s domestic partner ordinance to Life Time Fitness. This ordinance requires City contractors to provide the same benefits to same-sex domestic partners that they provide to married employees. Life Time Fitness does not provide these benefits. The City’s current contract with our Police and Fire unions obligates the City to provide health club memberships to these employees, and Life Time is the clear favorite of many. However, I believe that in order for our ordinances offering equal rights to all to have any meaning, we must actually use them. I fear that the Council’s decision to grant this waiver will set a precedent that no contractor should worry about losing the City’s business for not providing the domestic partnership benefits we’ve mandated by ordinance. This situation was especially problematic, because it became clear that one of Life Time’s competitors – the YMCA – does provide domestic partnership benefits. Joining me in voting to uphold our domestic partner ordinance were Council Members Schiff, Lilligren and Tuthill.
This goes to show that sometimes even losing votes can make significant, positive changes.  Congratulations to the GLBT Life Time Fitness employees who now share in the standard benefits provided to everyone else.


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