Bucks official calls for same-sex benefits for county workers

    A Bucks County commissioner wants to extend health benefits to the same-sex partners of county employees.

    Diane Ellis-Marseglia,  the only Democrat on the commissioners board, introduced the issue at a recent meeting.

    “What I suggested is that we offer people who have a domestic partner, and who can identify that, the ability to purchase health insurance for their partner.” she said. It would allow same-sex partners access to county health insurance plans, but the worker would assume the costs. Philadelphia goes a step further and offers domestic partners the same benefits given to spouses. Opponents say it isn’t the commissioners’ place to implement such a benefit. “There had been kind of a general push to let the bargaining units — the unions — negotiate this,” she said.  “But not all of our employees are in a bargaining unit.  Just under half aren’t represented by a union. Before the issue could come to a vote, Ellis-Marseglia said the board would need to identify how an employee would prove a domestic partnership. it would also have to determine the cost for employees to enroll.

    Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

    It will take 126,000 members this year for great news and programs to thrive. Help us get to 100% of the goal.