The fallout from yesterday's opinion on domestic partner benefits by Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott continues. Equality Texas this morning issued a press release arguing that the opinion letter had, in fact, given a domestic partners and their public employers a way forward – a roadmap for how to achieve their aims while complying with the laws of the state of Texas.
This afternoon, Marc Ott, City Manager for the City of Austin, responded with a resounding “whatever.” In an open memorandum, Ott stated:
“While we will continue the evaluate the Attorney General's opinion, it continues to be our belief that the City's domestic partner group benefits program is not prohibited by the Texas Marriage Amendment, and that the Texas Legislature did not intend the Amendment to have that effect when it was placed before the voters in 2005.”
“The Attorney General's opinion does not require the City to take any specific, action, and we do not intend to change domestic partner eligibility for our benefits program at this time.”
Notably, the City of Austin and its domestic partner eligibility program had been one of the specifically enumerated programs in State Sen. Dan Patrick's request for an opinion to the Attorney General. The full text of Marc Ott's response can be read here.