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Mayor Parker Offers Married Same Sex Couples Benefits

Mayor Parker Offers Married Same Sex Couples Benefits

Houston Mayor Annise Parker made a big announcement regarding benefits for city employees that are in same sex marriages on Wednesday.

“The city will begin offering benefits to all legally married spouses of city employees,” Parker said.  “This change is not only the legal thing to do, it is the right, just and fair thing to do.”

While there are those that applauded the decision, others did not

City Councilwoman Helena Brown wondered how this is possible since same sex marriage isn't legal in Texas, and told Matt Patrick this will all cost you in the end.

“It’s not going to only be us paying for these benefits it’s also going to be us paying for the time for our legal department to wage this battle. It’s going to be challenged. There’s no way it won’t be. It’s not right,” Brown said on KPRC 950.

Employment attorney Ruth Ann Daniels told Patrick those challenges will be hard to win because the Supreme Court knocked down part of the Defense of Marriage Act earlier this year.

“She didn’t have to do it. But if challenged she will ultimately prevail. The city attorney cited the U.S. Supreme Court overturning the Defense of Marriage Act in support of a legal opinion that the Mayor could do that,” Daniels explained.

So as it stands now, city employees who are legally married can get benefits. City employee Noel Freeman told KTRH this was the right move.

“It’s one more step to becoming a whole member of society, where our marriages are recognized like everyone else’s. It levels the playing field for all employees,” Freeman said.

Freeman was the first employee to file for health insurance for his spouse.

 

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