Once again Alexi Giannoulias stands up for the LGBT community. And looks good while he does it.
As Illinois state treasurer, and US Senate candidate, Alexi Giannoulias signed an executive order giving gay and lesbian employees of the Illinois Treasurer's office with domestic partners the same benefits as married employees.
Equality looks good.
Gay and lesbian partners will now receive the same family and medical leave benefits, be able to take time off to have or adopt children and take bereavement time on par with married workers; this is in addition to health care benefits that same-sex partners already received.
This new executive order marks the first constitutional Illinois state office or state agency to adopt such a policy and one of only nine states and the District of Columbia to implement leave-related benefits for domestic partners; he hopes, and, of course, I hope, other state offices, in Illinois and elsewhere, will take the same action.
"Today we're looking to lead the way....Hard working men and women devoted to their families should not have to choose between their family and keeping their job. The bottom line is that we should not deny same sex domestic couples the same rights that are available to married couples."
And it wasn't politics that made Giannoulias sign the order, it was simple equality. Cleo Downing, a marketing representative for the Treasurer's Office, said that when her mother-in-law passed away in Newark eight months ago, she was able to fly home for the funeral, but had to return the next day: "I left my wife in Newark because I had to get back to work. I didn't have a lot of off time."
To make matters worse, a month later her wife became ill and she wasn't able to take a medical leave to care for her; she worked every day and then went to the hospital because she wasn't entitled to family leave.
For Alexi Giannoulias, it was stories like Cleo Downing's that caused him to sign the order. "Stories like Cleo's, hearing from employees, we just thought it was something that needs to get done. This is the right thing to do. It's not about politics at all."
Huh. The right thing to do.
That sounds nice. And hot.