Gay domestic partners given benefits – writer

Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich this week issued an executive order extending domestic partnership benefits to all state employees under the authority of the governor?s office.

Illinois is America?s 13th state, and the third largest to adopt domestic partnership benefits for a major segment of its state employee population.

The 12 other states are California, Connecticut, Iowa, Maine, Montana, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington. The District of Columbia also offers domestic partner benefits to its employees.

In 2005, Illinois became the 15th state to ban discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and the fifth to also protect transgender people from discrimination.