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Texas county benefits plan to cover workers’ same-sex partners

Thursday, February 6, 2014
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SAN ANTONIO, Texas — Bexar County Commissioners on Tuesday unanimously approved a provision that would allow county benefits to be extended to employees’ same-sex partners.

Bexar-County-TXThe “Plus One Qualifying Adult” policy adopted by Commissioners Court attempts to circumvent legal roadblocks that bar the county from offering benefits to workers’ domestic partners, reports the San Antonio Express-News.

Without referencing same-sex couples, the provision will allow county employees to list one other adult they are financially interdependent with on their health, vision, dental, and life insurance plans.

The measure, modeled after an approach used in the private sector and adopted last month by El Paso County, avoids the terms that have brought challenges in San Antonio and Dallas.

Attorney General Greg Abbott has said domestic partner benefit plans for LGBT couples were illegal in Texas.

County Judge Nelson Wolff said approval for coverage will depend on factors such as joint mortgages, vehicle title registration, life insurance policies, or joint bank accounts.

“I believe this steps forward, allowing two adults — regardless of their relationship with each other — to qualify for this program,” Wolff said.

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