- Associated Press - Tuesday, December 9, 2014

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) - The city of Lincoln has extended health insurance and other benefits to the same-sex spouses of city workers.

Mayor Chris Beutler decided to accept Blue Cross and Blue Shield’s definition of marriage, which includes same-sex marriages, the Lincoln Journal Star said (https://bit.ly/1vJjrhu ).

Blue Cross, which provides coverage for the city and Lancaster County, changed its definition of marriage following a June 2013 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that struck down a portion of the federal Defense of Marriage Act denying a range of tax, health and pension benefits to legally married gay couples.

“The city accepted the new definition because it doesn’t make sense to deny legally married same-sex couples the same insurance benefits that we grant to other legally married couples,” said Beutler’s chief of staff, Rick Hoppe.

The spouses must show proof of marriage, which must have been performed in a state that allows same-sex marriage, in order to receive city benefits.

Last month the Lancaster County Board of Commissioners decided that despite the high court’s ruling, the county would not extend most pension benefits to same-sex spouses of county employees, saying that doing so would have violated Nebraska’s Defense of Marriage Amendment.

Doug McDaniel, the city-county human resources director, said Tuesday the county board also has decided not to accept the Blue Cross and Blue Shield definition of marriage, so it has not extended the health insurance and other benefits to the same-sex spouses.


Information from: Lincoln Journal Star, https://www.journalstar.com

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