Voters will get to decide whether the
domestic partners of gay city employees in El Paso, Texas can keep
their health insurance benefits, local Fox affiliate KFOX14 reported.
Last August, city council leaders
tucked a measure that extended such benefits inside the 2010 budget,
which they approved in a 7 to 1 vote. The law covers the domestic
partners of both straight and gay workers, but gay and lesbian
couples who cannot marry in the state are disproportionately
City leaders approved the measure over
the strong objections of dozens of citizens who spoke against the
measure during the public comments portion of city council meetings.
Word of Life Church Pastor Tom Brown,
who delivers a traveling ministry program called Homosexuality:
Its Cause and Cure, was among those who fought against the measure.
“City Council wants to waste
taxpayers' dollars – really basically pickpocketing the taxpayers
to endorse a homosexual lifestyle choice,” Brown said Monday. “I
think it is just the wrong time, and in our view it's just wrong no
matter what the time is.”
The city estimated last year that only
a few dozen gay employees would be affected by the policy.
Opponents gathered sufficient
signatures to put the question on the November 2 ballot. Voters will
be asked to decide on the following question: “Shall the
Ordinance, endorsing traditional family values by making health
benefits available only to city employees and their legal spouse and
dependent children, be approved?”