A quiet but important victory for the LGBT community in Bexar County. On Tuesday, the Bexar County Commissioners Court unanimously voted in favor of offering a Plus One benefits plan to all county employees. This type of domestic partner benefits plan allows LGBT county employees to add their spouse or partner to their medical, dental, vision and life insurance.
“Whether it's a man-woman, man-man, woman-woman, whatever. It's their business, their private life, but they have a right to be treated equally,” said County Judge Nelson Wolff.
Read more below the jump.
Commissioner Kevin Wolff, Republican who supported the measure
The plan, called the “Plus One Qualifying Adult,” is a domestic partner benefits plan under a different name. Bexar County had to draft this kind of model after Attorney General Greg Abbott said domestic partner benefit plans for LGBT couples were illegal in Texas.
The provision excludes a county employee's relatives — such as their parents and grandparents — as well as roommates and tenants. The benefits will be made under the county's current health plan, and they will begin as soon as Bexar County Manager David Smith can implement the initiative.
“Bexar County needs to do a better job of enhancing equal opportunity training to include sexual orientation and gender identity issues,” said Wolff during his re-election campaign kick-off last month.
The domestic partner benefits plan also won the support from Bexar County Commissioner Kevin Wolff, the only Republican member on the commissioner's court. Wolff says he supported the measure based on the plan's competitive impact and fiscal merit.
“I'm not looking at it from what I will call the social issue of domestic partners, I'm looking at it from a competitive issue and from an inclusive issue,” said Commissioner Wolff.
Domestic partner benefit plans find strong support from both Democrats and Republicans in Texas.
Equality Texas' 2013 Equality Poll found 71% of San Antonio residents support domestic partner benefit plans for public employees. Across the state, support for domestic partner benefit plans is 65.7%.
A date has not yet been set for when the plan will take affect.