POSTED: Tuesday, April 30, 2013 - 3:25pm
UPDATED: Tuesday, April 30, 2013 - 9:00pm
El Paso, TX (KTSM) — It's a controversial issue and now, that Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott released a statement saying it goes against Texas law for cities to give benefits to same sex couples, Pastor Tom Brown feels vindicated .
"We're very gratified that the attorney general has issued his opinion," Brown said. "Afterall he is the highest and most important attorney in the state of Texas and his opinion is perhaps the most, it is the most important opinion of any attorney".
Officials from El Paso and the county don't agree.
County Judge Veronica Escobar said Abbott's statement was purely political, not motivated by his knowledge of the law.
"It's no surprise," said Escobar. "I was kind of anticipating that would be his resonse. He's a politician. It's his opinion. It, frankly, differs from the legal opinions of city and county and school district employees from across the state".
Fort Worth, Austin and El Paso are the only three cities in the state that give those benefits to same sex couples.
Brown believes this should be a wake up call to the city and county
"Now it's up to El Paso, the city council, to do the right thing, to end the domestic benefits instead of making us have to sue them," he said.
"If Tom Brown chooses to sue the governments of his city, all he is doing is costing the taxpayers money," Escobar said.
According to Escobar, because the city and county pay for the benefits with tax money, not state funds, they can do what they like with the money.
"So for example, if the commssioners court decided to offer benefits to mothers of employees we could. That's a budgetary decision," she said.
This issue is about more than just money and there's hardly a middle ground.
"We have perhaps a moral failure in the city of El Paso compared to the rest of the state," Brown said.
"I'm very proud that El Paso is one of the communities that has stood against discrimination and biggorty," Escobar said.