Lambda Legal Applauds Dallas County Move to Provide Domestic Partner Benefits
“This vote sends a clear message that Dallas County respects and values all its employees and is committed to treating them fairly and equally.”
(Dallas, October 30, 2012) – The Dallas County Commissioners Court today voted to provide health benefits to the domestic partners of County employees through a voucher program to subsidize the purchase of private insurance. Lambda Legal South Central Regional Director Roger Poindexter issued the following statement after today’s vote:
“Last year, Dallas County Commissioners passed a fully-inclusive non-discrimination policy that recognized the value all employees, no matter their race, creed, gender, sexual orientation or gender identity, bring to the operation of Dallas County institutions. While a voucher system falls short of making health insurance available on the same basis as different-sex spouses enjoy, it is a step in the right direction and shows that a majority of the Commissioners understand that fairness warrants equal pay, including benefits, for equal work. This vote sends a clear message that Dallas County respects and values all its employees and is committed to treating them fairly and equally.”
Under the proposal approved by County Commissioners today, County employees whose partners buy private insurance would receive a subsidy equal to the same amount the County pays for an employee’s insurance. The domestic partners benefit plan is structured as a voucher program as it is the only way to provide benefits outside of the county’s healthcare provider because the Public Employee Benefits Cooperative would not allow Dallas County to offer the benefits through the co-op. Those who enroll will have to sign a domestic partner affidavit for Human Resources, as well as provide two forms of proof that they have lived together for six months, such as a lease agreement or joint bank accounts.
“While it is unfortunate that the County's Coop partners would not agree to allow Dallas County to include domestic partner coverage through the government's group healthcare plan, it shows that we have allies in government who care about all of their employees and want to do the right thing,” Poindexter added.
Lambda Legal is a national organization committed to achieving full recognition of the civil rights of lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, transgender people and those with HIV through impact litigation, education and public policy work.