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April 27, 2000

Pitt statement on Gallo's ruling

The University of Pittsburgh is gratified that the Court of Common Pleas, after hearing arguments from both sides and carefully reviewing the extensive record in this case, has prohibited Deborah Henson and the other six complainants from proceeding with the action against the University pending before the Pittsburgh Human Relations Commission.

Pitt respects the Human Relations Commission and the city ordinances that prohibit discriminatory actions, and we are pleased that this ruling in no way reduces the protections they provide. At the same time, this ruling clearly upholds what has been the University's position throughout these proceedings — namely that the University's health benefits plan is legal and non-discriminatory, that the extension of benefits can lawfully be based on marital status, and that there has never been any intent to discriminate against individuals on the basis of sexual orientation. The ruling also states that there is no jurisdictional basis for the Human Relations Commission to prosecute the case before it.

For well over two hundred years, the University of Pittsburgh has built a reputation as an institution that cares deeply about its people, and it remains, today, an institution that provides an open, caring and supportive environment to literally tens of thousands of individuals. The members of the University's faculty and staff reflect the full spectrum of diversity and possess the broadest array of human talents. Some measure of the value we place on our faculty and staff is shown through a generous benefits package that is fair to all. It includes health-insurance benefits to all employees, regardless of their sexual orientation.

Still there are individuals who continue to attempt to make the availability of same-sex benefits the only measure of institutional humanity. Fortunately, most people realize that there is far more involved in establishing and maintaining an environment of inclusion and diversity. They also recognize that such an environment exists at Pitt and will continue to be an important part of the University's bright future.

Ken Service Director of News and Information April 20, 2000

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