Domestic partner insurance debated
Austin council may put issue on the May 13 ballot
— reported by the Houston Chronicle
Some members of the Austin City Council want to put to voters a proposition that would extend health benefits to city employees’ gay or straight partners.
Council member Brewster McCracken called for repealing an existing prohibition on offering partner benefits. The proposal for the May 13 ballot would extend coverage to either a domestic partner or a family member living with a city employee.
A group named Concerned Texans led the campaign to overturn the benefits, criticizing them as financially irresponsible and domestic partners as immoral.
Dallas and Travis County are the only two local governments in Texas to offer domestic partner benefits, said Chuck Smith of the advocacy group Equity Texas. Travis County, which is home to Austin, last year overwhelmingly rejected Proposition 2, a state constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage.
Houston tried to pass something similar a few years ago and it was voted down. Here’s hoping that if more cities in the state start this, Houston will follow.