Students in Columbia Law School Sexuality and Gender Law Clinic Helped Equality Florida Draft Legislation

New York, Nov. 22, 2011—The Broward County Commission voted unanimously on November 8 to pass an Equal Benefits Ordinance that requires companies doing business with Broward County to provide domestic partners with benefits equal to those offered to married employees. The law was drafted with the assistance of students in the Columbia Law School Sexuality and Gender Law Clinic.

“The goal of an equal benefits ordinance is to ensure equal pay for equal work,” explained Hillary Schneller ’12, a clinic student who wrote a memorandum in support of the ordinance and drafted portions of the ordinance along with Erin Meyer ’11, and Larra Morris ’11. “An Equal Benefits Ordinance requires contractors doing business with a local government to offer employees with spouses and employees with domestic partners the same benefits.”

Broward County is the first county in Florida to adopt an equal benefits ordinance, but joins the state of California and a growing number of cities, including Miami Beach, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, Olympia, Seattle, and Portland, which have passed similar laws. The Broward ordinance applies to companies that enter contracts with the county worth $100,000 or more.

“Because benefits are such an important part of compensation, equal benefits ordinances like Broward County’s help ensure that employees in domestic partnerships are paid on par with their married co-workers,” said Professor Suzanne B. Goldberg, the clinic’s director.

The effort to have this Equal Benefits Ordinance enacted in Broward County was spearheaded by Equality Florida, a St. Petersburg-based civil rights organization that sought assistance from the clinic students in drafting the ordinance. Equality Florida is the largest civil rights organization dedicated to securing full equality for Florida’s lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community, and has been working to end discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in Florida since 1997.

Columbia Law School’s Sexuality and Gender Law Clinic addresses cutting-edge issues in sexuality and gender law through litigation, legislation, public policy analysis and other forms of advocacy. Under the guidance of Professor Suzanne Goldberg, clinic students have worked on a wide range of projects, from constitutional litigation to legislative advocacy to immigration cases, to serve both individual and organizational clients in cases involving issues of sexuality and gender law.

For more information, please visit: To contact Goldberg: call (212) 854-0411 or email

Add a comment

Comments are subject to moderation and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of
Columbia Law School or Columbia University.



"Homeland" Security Abortion Rights Activism Adoption adultery Advocacy Affordable Care Act Alien Tort Claims Act Amicus Brief Asylum Bankruptcy BDS Bullying Census Politics Children Citizenship Civil Unions Clinic Columbia Law School Compulsory Marriage Condoms Contraception Contraception Mandate Cordoba House Criminal Law Cures for Homosexuality Defense of Marriage Act Disability Rights Discrimination Divorce Domestic Partnership Domestic Violence Domestic Workers Don't Ask Don't Tell Earth Day Economic Justice Education Egypt Elections Employment Discrimination ENDA Estate Planning Events Family Law Fellowships femininity Feminism Free Speech Gender and Technology Gender Identity Discrimination Gendering the Economy Gender Justice GSL Online Haiti Hate Crimes Health Care Hilary Clinton Hillary Clinton Hiring HIV HIV Discrimination Hobby Lobby Homelessness Homophobia Housing Human Rights Identity Politics Illegitimacy (sic) Immigration Reform In-ing Incest India International Law Intersectional Feminism Islamophobia Israel Jobs Justice Sotomayor King & Spalding Labor Trafficking Land Reform Law School Legal Profession Legal Scholarship Lesbian & Gay Parenting LGBT Parenting Marital Status Discrimination Marriage Marriage Equality Masculinity Medicaid Michelle Obama Migration Military National Security Obama Administration Obama Appointments Obergefell Outing OWS Palestine Parenting Pinkwashing Policing Politics of the Veil Polyamory Popular Culture Pornograpy Pregnancy Presidential Politics Prisons Privacy Products Liability Profanity Prop 8 Prosecutorial Discretion Publications Public Rights/Private Conscience Public Rights/Private Conscience Project Queer Theory Queer vs. Gay Rights Race and Racism Racial Stereotyping Rape Religion Religious Accommodation Religious Exemption Religious Exemptions Religious Freedom Restoration Act Religious Fundamentalism Reproductive Rights Reproductive Technology RFRA Romania Rwanda Sartorial Commentary Schools Sex Discrimination Sex Education Sex Stereotyping Sexting Sex Trafficking Sexual Assault Sexual Duplicity Sexual Harassment Sexual Health Sexuality and Gender Law Clinic Sexual Orientation Discrimination Sex Work Silencing of voices SMUG Sodomy Law Reform Solidarity Sports Supreme Court Surrogacy Technology Title IX Trafficking Transgender Uganda Uncategorized Violence Women and Poverty Women of Color Work Zimbabwe

Academic Calendar  |  Resources for Employers  |  Campus Map & Directory  |  Columbia University  |  Jobs at Columbia  |  Contact Us

© Copyright 2009, Columbia Law School. For questions or comments, please contact the webmaster.