Texas-based lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) rights advocates and allies are praising a Dallas measure that will allow same-sex domestic partners to be eligible for a medical insurance subsidy.
As the Courthouse News Service reports, the Dallas County Commissioners Court voted 3-2 to approve a subsidy for the purchase or continuation of medical insurance which will be offered to both same-sex and opposite-sex couples as long as they provide evidence that they have lived together for at least six months or more.
County Judge Clay Jenkins, and Commissioners Dr. Elba Garcia and John Wiley Price, who comprise the court’s Democratic majority, voted in favor of offering the domestic partner subsidy. Republican Commissioners Mike Cantrell and Maurine Dickey voted against it, according to the Dallas Voice.
Local LGBT rights activist Oliver Blumer praised the decision, calling it a "simple business model that takes Dallas County into the 21st century," the Voice reported. He went on to note, “It’s not about gender. It’s not about sexual orientation. It’s simply about the equality and fairness that all employees deserve equal pay for equal work.”
Meanwhile, Dickey called the subsidy a "slippery slope" in arguing against it.
"Now we’re taking a small group that we’re setting up as a special issue, as a special group," she told Kera News. "Are we going to fund obese people? Are we going to fund smokers? Are we going to fund people with blue Pontiacs before 1978?"
Though the red state has a long history of "anti-gay" views, Mayor Annise Parker's 2009 win made Houston the largest city in the U.S. to have an openly LGBT mayor in office.