More Controversy Over "Domestic Partnership" Ordinance
POSTED: Monday, December 13, 2010 - 4:44pm
UPDATED: Tuesday, December 14, 2010 - 9:55am
The public vote to cut domestic partnerships out of the city's health benefits package may have been over a month ago, but the controversy is far from over.
"This one has heated language; you have people calling us bigots," said pastor Tom Brown of the Word of Life Church. He may be experiencing some slight opposition to the ordinance he supports, which makes health benefits available only to city employees, and their legal spouses and children.
"One person brought in a whole truckload, not a wheelbarrow, a whole truckload of manure and dropped it right on my parking spot on Sunday morning," Brown said. More serious actions include threats against his family.
He stands by the wording of the ordinance, which has recently come under fire. Many people oppose the voter-approved ordinance because they say it discriminates against homosexual couples. Some also say the wording cuts benefits for city retirees.
"The wording that was used was taken directly from the health plan of the city of El Paso," Brown said.
He says the recent argument is a just a ploy to keep the ordinance from taking effect. Most recently, the El Paso Municipal Police Association has threatened to sue the city if the ordinance strips retirees of their benefits.
"I think the ordinance is one that is motivated by prejudice, by bigotry - certainly something that I don't stand for," said city representative Steve Ortega. He says he may support an amendment.
City council will introduce an amendment tomorrow, 'grandfathering' in the people who already have benefits but preventing any domestic partners from applying for benefits in the future.
In a statement, Police Association President Ron Martin said, "The union will support anything that protects employees."
"I certainly think it does not cast this community in a good light," Ortega added.
"The ordinance will definitely save tax payer money and it will protect traditional family values," Brown said.
After the amendment is introduced, we're told the public will have a chance to comment next week, on December 21, at the council meeting.