By AP/St. Louis Public Radio
Chicago, IL – Illinois state Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias is allowing the partners of same-sex couples who work in his office to have the same benefits as the partners of heterosexual employees.
The Democratic Senate candidate signed the order Sunday, making this the first statewide office in Illinois to have such a policy.
It recognizes same-sex domestic partnerships as equivalent to marriages for treasurer's office employees.
Giannoulias says the order is "about fairness and equality" and has nothing to do with the Senate race. Giannoulias faces Republican Congressman Mark Kirk in that contest.
A Kirk spokeswoman says he supports the federal Employment Non-Discrimination Act of 1994, and agrees there shouldn't be workplace discrimination.