Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Update: Same-Sex Partners Benefits Case Settles

You may recall a Case of the Week from back in May: Same Sex Partner Benefits and the Constitution. In short, two women filed suit against my hometown school district (State College Area School District) alleging unconstitutional sexual orientation discrimination. The school did not provide certain benefits to same-sex partners but did provide them to unmarried opposite-sex "domestic partners."

I previously blogged about a partial settlement in which the school district would provide health insurance benefits to same-sex couples and add sexual orientation and gender identity to its anti-discrimination policies. Now, news of a full settlement from
Board members voted 7-0 to approve a negotiated settlement payment of $42,500 -- for damages -- to employee Kerry Wiessmann and partner Beth G. Resko . . . . The vote also authorized a payment of $47,000 -- through the district's insurance carrier -- to Wiessmann and Resko's attorneys, including those with the American Civil Liberties Union.
The school district didn't put up much of a fight - but it didn't sound like they had much of a defense either.

Case closed... unless there are other same-sex couples who meet the school district's requirements for "domestic partners." Seems like they would have a pretty easy time getting a settlement deal.

HT: McQuaide Blasko legal secretary, Lori Haberstroh via email.

Posted by Philip Miles, an attorney with McQuaide Blasko in State College, Pennsylvania in the firm's civil litigation and labor and employment law practice groups.