Houston Mayor Annise Parker has made a change to ensure city employees are treated equally.
Mayor Parker has announced that the same-sex spouses of city employees will receive the same benefits as straight couples. The change ensures, health, dental, and survivor benefits will be paid to city employees who were legally married.
Noel Freeman with the Houston GLBT Political Caucus says as long as the employees were married in a state that allows gay-marriage, their marriage is recognized by Houston City Charter. The city charter only specifies that benefits can be applied to couples legally married.
This change in policy will likely make waves after Texas Governor Rick Perry recently defied the U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, by denying health and survivor benefits of military members, to same-sex spouses. Hagel has issued a memorandum to all states, that required all same-sex military couples to receive the same federal benefits that straight couples get.
Annise Parker is the first openly gay person elected mayor of a major city. The rule change does not apply to Mayor Parker and her partner Kathy Hubbard (pictured below) since the two are not married.