Dallas OKs retirement benefits for same‑sex spouses of city workers

Staff Reports

The Dallas city council on Wednesday signed off on extending retirement benefits to married, same-sex spouses.

The Dallas Morning News reports the move affirms a vote by the Dallas Employees’ Retirement Fund board to extend benefits to all spouses subject to a vote of the City Council and a city attorney opinion.

The council had previously ordered all facets of the city to take whatever steps necessary to make their operations equal, but the two pension boards — the retirement fund and the Police and Fire Pension Board — balked.

Retirement fund board members believed they needed an all-city vote, while proponents of extending benefits argued they could do so simply by re-interpreting the gender-neutral word “spouse” in the existing ordinances. In a compromise, they agreed to extend the benefits immediately if the council ordered them to do so.

An opinion for the city attorney’s office was issued last week saying that under federal law, Internal Revenue Service qualified pension funds require all married couples to be treated equally.

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