With the stroke of a pen on Monday, Easton, Penn., Mayor Sal Panto officially made Easton the fifth municipality in Pennsylvania to offer health and employment benefits to the same-sex partners of city employees. The ordinance takes effect at midnight on January 1, 2012, at which time Easton will join Allentown, Harrisburg, Pittsburgh and Philadelphia in providing equal benefits to city employees and their partners, regardless of sexual orientation.
A public ceremony took place in Easton's Centre Square on Monday to mark the mayor's signature on the legislation.
"It is my honor to sign this law in the same spot the Declaration of Independence was read," said Mayor Panto. "Hopefully the State legislature will pass this to give equal civil rights to everyone in Pennsylvania."
Mayor Panto's signature comes less than two weeks after the Easton City Council voted unanimously (7-0) in favor of the legislation. A standing ovation concluded the vote on May 25. Also noteworthy is that no one spoke out against the bill during the public comment period.
"I am so pleased by the unanimous and bipartisan support for relationship recognition for same-sex couples in Easton," said Adrian Shanker of the Pennsylvania Diversity Network, a leading advocate for the ordinance. "Easton now joins the vast majority of Fortune 500 companies in providing the best HR policies for their employees."
GLAAD congratulates our colleagues in Pennsylvania, as well as the Easton City Council, for their work in making Easton a city that recognizes the relationships of all loving and committed couples, regardless of sexual orientation.