(Cleveland) – Starting next year, MetroHealth will offer health insurance benefits to same sex domestic partners of employees and their immediate dependents.

The MetroHealth System Board of Trustees approved the provision to begin on January 1, 2014.

Akram Boutros, MD, FACHE, President and CEO of the MetroHealth System stated, “This is not a win for one people. This is a win for our organization. It’s about doing the right thing. This reflects our values of respect, inclusion and diversity, teamwork and being accountable for doing the right thing.”

Offering same sex partner health insurance benefits is consistent with other area healthcare organizations and several local government entities including Cuyahoga County, the City of Cleveland and the City of Cleveland Heights, as well as many state universities.

"I applaud The MetroHealth System Board of Trustees for approving this provision,” said Ed FitzGerald, Cuyahoga County Executive. “This decision is really a decision in favor of equity and fairness. With the spirit and vision of their new leader, Dr. Boutros, The MetroHealth System continues to excel. I look forward to growing an even stronger partnership with him and the institution into the future.”

"Congratulations to The MetroHealth System for taking this important step forward," said Mayor Frank Jackson. "It’s further evidence of how Cleveland and Northeast Ohio are becoming more welcoming to our LGBT citizens as we get closer to Gay Games 9 arriving in Cleveland in 2014.”

More information will be available during the upcoming benefits open enrollment period.

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(Copyright © 2013 by Clear Channel, all rights reserved. Photo by Ken Robinson/WTAM 1100.)