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Lehigh Valley

Lehigh County executive wants to extend benefits to same-sex couples

Lehigh executive wants to extend benefits to same-sex couples

ALLENTOWN, Pa. - Lehigh County Executive Matt Croslis is calling for health benefits for same-sex partners of county employees.

The proposal is included in his 2014 budget, which has been submitted to commissioners.

Croslis said the current policy extends benefits to an employee's spouse if that employee is legally married to a person of the opposite sex. He said that language is discriminatory, and he says changing it might protect the county in the long run.

"If a same sex couple is legally married and they're employed by the county, I believe that opens us up, directly opens us up, to a lawsuit and exposes us to additional costs. So this is the right thing to do for a lot of reasons," Croslis said.

The executive's budget would also cut 30 county employees, including a number at Cedarbrook Nursing Home.

The budget still has to be approved by the board of commissioners.

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