Cincinnati Metro on May 29 announced that it will provide health and dental benefits to domestic partners of its employees, becoming the first employer to say it will utilize Cincinnati’s domestic partner registry, which passed out of committee June 2 and is expected to be passed by full council this week. Should it pass, Cincinnati will be the 10th city in Ohio to have a domestic partner registry.
Mayor John Cranley and City Councilman Chris Seelbach attended a press conference May 29 announcing the expansion of benefits to same-sex couples. Cranley called it “symbolically and substantively right.”
Many of Cincinnati’s major employers, including Procter & Gamble, Kroger and Macy’s, offer same-sex and domestic partner benefits.
Seelbach said while those companies already have systems to evaluate domestic partnerships, the registry will give other companies like Metro an easy way to provide those benefits.
“We are now leaders in the nation and the region to make sure everyone is welcome in our city, regardless of who they love,” Seelbach said. “Everyone should bring their full self to their workplace and be able to do that with health benefits for their partners.”
Seelbach said while Metro is the first to say it will use the registry, other companies like Cincinnati Bell have expressed interest.
Metro is a nonprofit tax-funded public service of the Southwestern Ohio Regional Transit Authority (SORTA) with around 850 employees.
An executive statement from SORTA says the organization is committed to a work environment that “promotes dignity and respect for all.”
Board Chair Jason Dunn said during the press conference that SORTA’s commitment to inclusion is a great business decision.
“It shows that we value our employees,” Dunn said. “It shows that not only is Metro on the cutting edge of transportation but also making sure we are open to talent and we are open to retaining great talent in our system.”
Same-sex partners with a valid marriage license, same-sex partners registered by a government entity and same-sex partners with a sworn affidavit will be recognized by Metro for domestic partner benefits, which will take effect Jan. 1, 2015.