Straight woman challenges gay equality law

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A heterosexual woman has provided the first test of Washington state’s anti-discriminations laws recently introduced with the intention of protecting gay and lesbian employees from persecution based on their sexual orientation.

But Sandi Scott-Moore claims her partner is unfairly denied health benefits from her employer, manufacturing company Honeywell International, because he is not of the same gender and they are unmarried.

Groups opposed to the legislation warned situations such as this would arise.

Washington Human Rights Commission Director Marc Brenman told the Associated Press, “We have to proceed very, very cautiously because we could be creating new policy for employers and other entities in the state.”

A spokesman for the company said: “We believe the claim filed with the Washington State Human Rights Commission is without merit and plan to vigorously defend our position.”

The law was passed at the beginning of this year, it added “sexual orientation” to a state law that bans discrimination in housing, employment, insurance and credit.

It made Washington the 17th state to ban discrimination based on sexual orientation and the 7th to enact a ban based on gender identity.