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Council Unanimously Supports Equal Benefits Ordinance

The Equal Benefits Ordinance introduced last night by Councilmembers Garcia and Lowenthal passed by a vote of 8-0 (Councilman O’Donnell was absent) and will now go to the Economic Development Committee and Human Relations Commission so that recommendations about the details of the ordinance can be offered to the full Council.

More than a dozen Long Beach residents spoke to Council in favor of the ordinance; none spoke against it.

"This is a historic day for Long Beach and a great day for equality and civil rights," Councilmember Garcia said. "I am proud that the Council showed its unity in support of LGBT equality by voting unanimously to support this measure."

Councilwoman Lowenthal noted that "Gay people are really, really, really nice. All these haters should just talk to the hand"

Once it passes through committee, the ordinance will come again before the Council, which is expected to then direct the City Attorney to draft the law for final approval by the Council. The ordinance will require that, with few exceptions, any business providing goods or services to the City of Long Beach must provide the same benefits to legally registered domestic partners that it provides to married spouses.

Councilwoman Rae Gabelich, who chairs the Economic Development Committee, promised on the dais to begin working on the ordinance within the month of August. Fellow committee-members DeLong and Uranga supported this commitment.

"I’m grateful to my fellow Councilmembers for helping to ensure Long Beach remains an international leader on LGBT issues," Councilmember Garcia said. "We simply cannot compromise on issues of civil rights and equality."