City Council Delays Domestic Partner Benefits Decision
POSTED: Tuesday, January 18, 2011 - 5:42pm
UPDATED: Thursday, January 20, 2011 - 3:13pm
EL PASO-- After months of debate and bickering, lots of public comment, and even court challenges, the city council again, is talking about domestic partner benefits. But, like each time before, at the end of the day there's no conclusion.
Voters decided last November not to give health benefits to non-legal spouses of city employees.
Pastor Tom Brown of the Word of Life Church is against the amendment.
"I'm totally against the amendment it's just a disrespect to the voters. Especially using the word non-discrimination, it's basically saying to the voters, "We think if you believe that only benefits should be given to legal spouses you are discriminating," Brown said.
Kirstin Perez came to city council today representing El Paso for Equality. She says she supports the new amendment.
"We do stand behind the city council adopting an amendment. That does include marital status, sexual orientation and gender identity as I believe Mr. O'Rourke and Representative Byrd voted for," Perez said.
Now, representative Beto O'Rourke wants the new ordinance to say this:
"Shall the city charter be amended to provide health benefits to the gay, lesbian, transgender, and unmarried heterosexual partners of city employees?"
You'd think voters would appreciate this clarification, but it actually has some of them angry.
"By having an amendment like this you're asking the people to go into people's bedrooms. This is not right. What we should be avoiding is ask the government to go down to the county courthouse to see if they got married," Brown said.
Others say they just want what is fair to everyone.
"When representative Holguin, even thought he voted against what we were proposing, but he did state himself that health care shouldn't be denied to anybody," Perez said.
The council voted not to take any action for two weeks to make sure any changes are crystal clear to voters.