Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Douglas County to extend health, other benefits to same-sex spouses of employees

Douglas County will extend health insurance and other benefits to the same-sex spouses of county employees.

Commissioners voted 6-1 Tuesday to expand the benefits to same-sex spouses, starting January first. The resolution changed the definition of a spouse to include legally-married same-sex couples.

UNO political scientist Paul Landow says it’s a major step forward for the Omaha area.

"This is 2013, these benefits are coming in to place all over the country, and it’s smart of the Omaha area to do the same thing. This helps attract big businesses, it helps attract new employees, and these benefits are nothing new, most major corporations have been extending them for years now."

Landow says the city of Omaha should follow suit and extend benefits to same-sex spouses of city employees. And he says doing so doesn’t pose legal or Constitutional issues.

The Omaha Police Union recently filed a grievance after learning that health insurance benefits would not be extended to same-sex spouses. Omaha Mayor Jean Stothert says that matter would need to be part of collective bargaining.