A year after a lesbian police officer began a fight with the city of Coral Gables, the commission passed a Domestic Partnership Ordinance giving LGBT city employees partnership benefits, South Florida Gay News reports.
“I have been a police officer with the city for 22 years, and today I finally have the same rights as my fellow officers,” Acting Major Rene Tastet said in a statement.
Tastet's battle for equal rights started in April 2011 when she requested bereavement leave on the passing of her longtime partner’s father, according to SAVE Dade, an LGBT advocacy group.
Though her request was denied, Tastet was able to take a different form leave because of her tenure with the police department. But the experience led her to try and change the city’s policy.
“I realized at that moment the injustice of not having equal rights and how it would affect the next person not having the accrued leave and unable to be with his/her partner,” she said.
The acting major filed a grievance with the city manager’s office to have Coral Gables include homosexual couples in the city’s Bereavement Leave Rule. The Fraternal Order of Police stood behind Tastet, fully supporting the Domestic Partnership Ordinance.
After a unanimous vote by the Coral Gables city commission, the city became the eighth in Miami-Dade to give same-sex couples partnership benefits, following Miami Beach, Miami, North Miami, North Bay Village, South Miami, Palmetto Bay and Miami Shores. Miami-Dade County workers are also covered by a domestic partnership policy.
“When you’re able to change public policy like this without any of the sort of hardliners coming out against it, I think that sends a signal that people are progressing, people are being educated, and more people are becoming more accepting of gay and lesbian people, their lives, and their families,” CJ Ortuno, executive director of SAVE Dade, told HuffPost Miami.