Equality Florida Transgender Inclusion Director Gina Duncan speaks in favor of adding Transgender protections to Miami-Dade County's HRO.

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When the Flagler County School Board unanimously approved bereavement leave for school support personnel in domestic partnerships in July as part of the latest labor negotiations, it was the first time that domestic partnerships that include same-sex unions have been acknowledged in the contract. This opens up questions about why now and what benefits could follow.

“It’s way past time” says Katie Hansen, president of the Flagler Educators Association, Flagler County’s teachers’ union. Yet there haven’t been any similar requests made for teachers. She hopes it’s only a matter of time.

Why has it taken so long? There’s always pressure to make such changes. Domestic partnership “was probably just one of those things that slipped through the cracks,” she said. “It’s just one of those things that, if no one brings it up or to our attention, then it doesn’t go to the table. But it’s definitely something we’ll negotiate the next time we go back to the table with the district. It’s just something that we haven’t discussed or has been on the forefront of our brains when we went to negotiation. But it is something we’d definitely like to see in place for the teachers of Flagler County.”

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