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Same-Sex Marriage Recognition Coming To The High Plains Of Texas


by: Omar Araiza

Wed Oct 16, 2013 at 02:00 PM CDT


B&W Pantex, which operates the Pantex Plant near Amarillo for the Department of Energy, will begin offering benefits to all legally-married employees on January 1, 2014.

B&W Pantex employs 3,200 personnel at the Texas Panhandle facility, disassembling and maintaining the nation's nuclear weapons stockpile.

The company has removed the term "opposite sex" from their HR policy, thus equalizing their benefits plan for legally-married same-sex couples. While same-sex marriage is not yet legal in Texas, employees can present a legal marriage license from any of the 13 states, including the Washington, D.C., where marriage equality has been recognized.

Read more on how Texans have evolved on LGBT rights below the jump.

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Texans have long supported civil unions between same-sex couples.
Since Republicans took control of all statewide offices over two-decades ago, Texas has had a slow evolution regarding LGBT rights.

The Equality Poll 2013, conducted by Texas' largest LGBT advocacy organization, Equality Texas, showed truly encouraging results this year. As a state, Texans' feelings towards LGBT rights are beginning to pattern those of the rest of the country.

Texas voters now support all eleven rights issues that pertain to LGBT citizens. There was a statistically significant increase in support among five of the eleven issues, including:

•    80.0% of voters support a guaranteed right to make end of life medical decisions for a partner; an increase in support of 4.9%.

•    70.2% of voters support a legal right to inherit possessions if there is no will in place; an increase in support of 4.8%.

•    65.7% of voters support extending domestic partnership benefits to government/public university employees; an increase of 3.4%.

•    52.0% of Texas voters now support recognizing the marriages of same-gender couples from states that currently allow marriage; an increase in support of 3.6%.

The largest increase in support among Texas voters was to allow same-sex marriage. By a margin of 47.9% to 47.5%, a very minor plurality, Texas voters now support the freedom to marry. This percentage represents an increase of 5.2% in support since September, 2010. If patterns continue to increase, which all signs point to be the case, a majority of Texans will soon support marriage equality.

The action by B&W Pantex will assist in giving LGBT couples the security to build a life together and to protect their families; something all Texans families ought to be able to do.



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