Orange County Public Schools considers domestic partner benefits

District negotiates with union for gay, lesbian health benefits

ORLANDO, Fla. - Orange County Public Schools is debating on offering domestic partner benefits to gay and lesbian workers.

The district is still negotiating with the union, but several things are still under consideration-including how the district would verify domestic partnerships and whether the benefits would extend to children of domestic partners.

"I think it's completely up to the negotiation process with the union," said scott Howat with OCPS. "Right now the ball is in their court."

District employees like Clinton McCracken, an art teacher at Howard Middle School in Orange County, hope the changes are made soon. McCracken told Local 6 that when his partner, Mike, lost his job as a school teacher, he also lost his benefits and McCracken couldn't add him to his insurance because they aren't legally married.

"He went for probably almost two years without insurance and getting sick and not being able to go to the doctor, and not being able to afford medicine," said McCracken.

If the district moves forward with domestic partnership benefits, it would take effect next spring. Broward, Miami-Dade and Palm Beach school districts already offer the benefits.

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