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  WINDY CITY TIMES

Springfield gov't extends civil union benefits after controversy
by Kate Sosin, Windy City Times
2013-01-09

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Civil unions have been in effect in Illinois for more than a year and a half, but the City of Springfield has finally worked out how it will approach benefits for civil union spouses.

After more than a year of controversy, the City of Springfield has voted to extend benefits for civil unions.

The news comes after months of back and forth over the city's benefits plan.

The Joint Labor/Management Health Care Committee had initially voted not to extend the benefits, citing an actuarial project that the move would cost $725,000. The committee said that the vote was legal because the city is self-insured.

Still, no city employee had requested the benefits.

LGBT rights advocates widely condemned the vote, arguing that it violated the spirit and intent of civil unions.

A revised projection estimated that extending the benefits would cost $66,000.

The committee voted to reverse its decision a year ago, but that vote was thrown out after a Circuit Court Judge found that the committee violated the Open Meetings Act in voting behind closed doors. The city has not extended the benefits since.

The new vote will mean that city employees can access the benefits starting March 1.


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