FULL STORY: Ordinance Amendment To Come to a Vote
POSTED: Tuesday, December 14, 2010 - 5:22pm
UPDATED: Tuesday, December 14, 2010 - 5:59pm
The vote today was whether to allow an ordinance amendment proposed by representative Quintana to go to a vote next week.
The amendment would "grandfather" in the people who already have benefits, but prevent any domestic partners from applying for benefits in the future.
"There's a lot of personal attacks, even by city council; people are not sticking to the issue," said Sonia Brown, wife of pastor Tom Brown and a pastor in her own right.
"This isn't about any one protected class - this is about all classes," said Lyda Ness-Garcia, chair of the newly-formed group "El Paso for Equality." She says she's already drafted a petition for an anti-discrimination clause that would cancel out the ordinance altogether.
"I think it was misleading insofar that we all support families, but we support families in all shapes and forms," Ness-Garcia said.
"They forget that it was the majority of El Pasoans who voted for this ordinance," Brown said.
Although voters approved the city-health benefits ordinance last month, opponents say it inadvertently applies to city retirees and adopted children.
City representative Rachel Quintana introduced an amendment that would only apply to domestic partners and their children who want benefits in the future.
"My intentions were to reconcile the voters and their will when they voted on November 2 and the rights of the city employee to health benefits," Quintana said.
Eddie Holguin was the only council member who did not want to push the amendment to a vote next week.
"I think we set a bad precedence when politicians start overturning the will of the people," Holguin said.
The Police Officer's Association has been outspoken in its opposition to the ordinance because of its effect on retirees. An attorney for the association says he's going to file a lawsuit against the city in the next day or so.