Turn out the lights on Pepco (Rosenstein, The Washington Blade) 07/07/06
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”Fighting for equal rights since 1971”
P.O. Box 75265
Washington, D.C. 20013
Monday, March 19, 2007
Contact: Rick Rosendall
GLAA Applauds Pepco for Adopting Domestic Partner Benefits
The Gay and Lesbian Activists Alliance of Washington, DC applauds the announcement made on March 14 by the Potomac Electric Power Company’s parent company, Pepco Holdings, Inc., that as of July 1, 2007, it will provide domestic partner benefits to its employees, to include medical, prescription, mental health, dental, and vision. PHI’s requirements for domestic partners include living together in the same household for at least 18 months, being at least 18 years old, and being jointly responsible for each other’s basic living expenses.
In a March 14 letter to D.C. Councilmember Mary Cheh, Chair of the Committee on Public Services and Consumer Affairs, Pepco Region President Thomas Graham stated, “Offering domestic partner benefits is consistent with PHI's stated commitment to respecting diversity, valuing all employees and being an employer of choice, which may enhance our ability to recruit and retain the talent needed to meet our business goals. Providing such benefits to all employees will underscore PHI’s commitment to prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, race, gender, age, religion, ethnicity and disabilities.”
Cheh responded, “This is a dramatic and progressive step and I applaud Pepco for moving toward equal treatment of all its employees.” Cheh had written to Pepco in February urging a policy change after GLAA Secretary Craig Howell testified on the subject at a hearing she chaired on the D.C. Public Service Commission.
GLAA’s advocacy on Pepco was prompted by a July 2006 op-ed in The Washington Blade by activist Peter Rosenstein, who noted that two local utilities, Pepco and Washington Gas Light Co., were missing from a list issued by the Human Rights Campaign of companies offering domestic partner benefits. GLAA wrote to both companies urging them to adopt domestic partner benefits. Washington Gas Light adopted a new domestic partners policy as of January 1.
GLAA President Barrett Brick praised Pepco’s action while noting that the 18-month waiting period showed the company’s policy is still short of equality. “Just as a legally married couple is recognized as married from the outset, legally registered domestic partners should also be recognized from the outset. But Pepco has taken a step in the right direction, and we thank them. We are eager to continue working with them to continue moving forward.”
Founded in 1971, the Gay and Lesbian Activists Alliance of Washington (GLAA) is an all-volunteer, non-partisan, non-profit political organization that defends the civil rights of lesbians and gay men in the Nation’s Capital. GLAA lobbies the DC Council, monitors government agencies, educates and rates local candidates, and works in coalitions to defend the safety, health, and equal rights of gay families. GLAA remains the nation's oldest continuously active gay and lesbian civil rights organization.