A Philadelphia city councilman wants to give employers an incentive to extend domestic partnership benefits to same-sex couples.

 

Councilman Jim Kenney said his bill is designed to give tax incentives to private-sector companies that offer health benefits to same-sex couples.

"And be able to write off that expense as they do for opposite sex couples on their tax returns to the city for their business taxes," Kenney said. "So that gives them an incentive to provide that. Also, it gives equal rights to folks relative to hospital visits, end-of-life decisions, child-care decisions."

Kenney denied that he's introducing the bill to court favor with lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered voters for a potential run for mayor.

"I have been supporting LGBT rights in this council for over 20 years," he said. "I did it in a time in the early to mid-90s when it was harder to do than it is to do today. As a straight, white, Irish-Catholic male, I think it's important for people like myself to say that equal rights is equal rights for everyone."

The incentive would apply to the mostly large companies already offering health benefits to same-sex couples. Kenney said the incentives could make it affordable for much smaller firms.