Main | Wednesday, June 15, 2011

El Paso Restores Partner Benefits

Last year a too-broadly worded anti-gay ballot referendum not only rescinded domestic partner benefits for El Paso city employees, it ended insurance benefits for some retired cops and firefighters. Yesterday the city council reversed the ballot measure.
After hearing spirited arguments from members of the public on both sides of the issue, the council split 4-4. Mayor John Cook, who proposed the ordinance restoring benefits, broke the tie in favor of it despite a ballot initiative in November ending them. City Reps. Beto O'Rourke and Rachel Quintana, who will leave the council in two weeks, voted in favor of restoring the benefits. Quintana's replacement, Michiel Noe, on Tuesday said he would not have voted the way she did. "Although I think everyone should have benefits, I would have respected the will of the voters," Noe said. "Now, if the courts had decided that was illegal, then I would have voted according to what the ruling said. But they said that the vote was legal, so again I would respect the will of the voters."
Pastor Tom Brown, the author of the original measure, says he will launch a recall drive against the city council members who voted to restore the benefits.

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