News (USA)

Same-sex marriage ban stalls changes to Dallas pension funds

DALLAS — Two Dallas city pension funds have delayed enacting measures passed by the city council aimed at ensuring equal rights for municipal employees.

Dallas City Hall
Dallas City Hall

The council earlier this year adopted a non-binding resolution seeking equal treatment for LGBT employees. It followed that vote with another Wednesday that amends personnel rules to prohibit discrimination.

The resolution was drafted by John Rogers, who has since retired as a Dallas assistant city attorney. He’s now pushing for adoption of the rights called for by the resolution he wrote, a move that would benefit his husband and him.

“There’s no reason they can’t implement this,” he told The Dallas Morning News. “For some reason, the pension board is stonewalling on it. It’s ridiculous, and they need to just fix it.”

But leaders of the city’s two pension funds — one for civilian employees and the other for public safety workers — say changing the plans is a complicated process.

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One obstacle is that the changes would allow same-sex spouses who outlive city pensioners to receive lifetime benefits. But Texas doesn’t recognize same-sex marriage.

Carla Brewer, chairwoman of the civilian pension fund for Dallas workers, said the fund is seeking legal clarification before proceeding, according to the Morning News.

She said pension benefits are “a long-term issue … These are given for life. So we want to make sure that if we tell our employees or our retirees, ‘Here’s what you’re eligible for,’ that they can count on that.”

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