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USA, Texas: El Paso Rejects Demand For $10,000 To Settle Domestic Partner Benefit Lawsuit

Saturday, October 19th, 2013

Texas mapThe city of El Paso, Texas is rejecting a demand from Tom Brown Ministries, the group that sued the city over its domestic partner benefits.

The Dallas Voice reports:

Tom Brown Ministries demanded $10,000 from the city of El Paso to settle a lawsuit it initiated over city domestic partner benefits. The city council rejected the demands from the organization labeled an anti-gay hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center. In 2011, Brown began a recall petition against Mayor John Cook and two city council members who voted to reinstate domestic partner benefits. The benefits were approved in 2009 and repealed in an election in 2010 before being reinstated in 2011. The recall election cost five times what the benefits cost the city.

You lost. Get over it. Move on.

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Texas, USA: El Paso Voters Pass LGBT Protections Ordinance

Sunday, May 12th, 2013

Texas mapThe long fight over domestic partner benefits in El Paso took another turn yesterday, as voters approved it and sent the only mayoral candidate who supported the measure into a runoff. The Dallas Voice reports:

Elsewhere, El Paso voters approved Proposition 7, which adds gay employees to to the nondiscrimination policy in employment and provision of benefits, the El Paso Times reports. Among other things, Prop 7 will allow the city to continue offering DP benefits. Only one of the city’s seven mayoral candidates, Steve Ortega, publicly supported Prop 7. Ortega advanced to a runoff against Oscar Leeser.

You may remember the fight that ensued after the city council first passed the domestic partners ordinance in 2009 – a voter repeal that unintentionally took rights away from grandparents too, a court battle, and now this. For the full history, click here to see our past articles on the subject.

Find more articles and gay wedding resources in Texas.

TX: Federal Court Blocks Removal of Pro-Gay El Paso City Council Members

Saturday, February 18th, 2012

El Paso Recall BlockedA federal appeals court has blocked a recall election to remove three El Paso, Texas elected officials who backed gay rights, the El Paso Times reported.

Pastor Tom Brown of the Word of Life Church led an effort to oust El Paso Mayor John Cook and two City Council members, Steve Ortega and Susie Byrd, because they supported giving health insurance benefits to the unmarried domestic partners of city workers.

The battle began in 2009, when the Council approved giving benefits to the unmarried domestic partners of city employees, regardless of sexual orientation. Opponents, led by Brown, forced a voter referendum, which was approved with 55 percent of the vote in 2010.

Full Story from On Top Magazine

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TX: Judge OK’s Recall Effort Over El Paso’s Reinstatement of Domestic Partnership Benefits

Tuesday, November 29th, 2011

El Paso RecallA Texas judge has ruled that Pastor Tom Brown’s recall election against El Paso’s mayor may take place. Anti-gay Christian activists are attempting to remove the mayor and two members of the city council for voting to reinstate domestic partners insurance for city employees.

Pastor Tom Brown initiated the recall drive after Cook and council members Susie Byrd and Steve Ortega voted to overturn the limiting of benefits to legal spouses and their children. Brown, who pastors El Paso’s Word of Life Church, had led the effort that led to voter approval of those limits last year.

Mayor Cook challenged the recall effort, arguing that Brown violated state election law by using church resources to collect signatures for the recall petition. The Alliance Defense Fund is challenging the constitutionality of that law in federal court.

Full Story from Joe.My.God

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TX: El Paso Still Battling Over Domestic Partnerships

Sunday, October 2nd, 2011

El Paso Recall CampaignPastor Tom Brown wants homosexuals to repent and turn to Christ. He certainly does not want them to be given taxpayer-financed health benefits.

Mr. Brown, the charismatic leader of Word of Life Church, an independent evangelical congregation of about 1,500 members, is on a mission to ensure that the domestic partners of El Paso city workers no longer get health insurance. He is spearheading an effort to oust the mayor and two City Council members who supported an ordinance allowing the city to pay for the health benefits of unmarried employees’ domestic partners — gay and straight.

“They want to reward fornicators, and they want to reward homosexuals,” Mr. Brown said in an interview, his voice booming with indignation as he pumped his fist for emphasis.

Full Story from The New York Times

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TX: El Paso City Council Restores Benefits to Gay and Unmarried Couples

Wednesday, June 15th, 2011

El Paso City Council approved an ordinance to reinstate health benefits for domestic partners of city employees and anyone else who lost them after voters approved the traditional family values ordinance last year.

The eight city representatives were split down the middle, with Mayor John Cook having the tie-breaking vote. He voted in favor of the ordinance he introduced. Reps. Beto O’Rourke, Susie Byrd, Steve Ortega and Rachel Quintana voted to approve the ordinance, while Carl Robinson, Ann Morgan Lilly, Eddie Holguin Jr. and Emma Acosta voted against it.

Holguin said he had every reason to vote in favor of the mayor’s ordinance. “The voters of El Paso voted, and they stripped benefits from lots of people including myself,” Holguin said. But he voted against it.

Full Story from KFOX

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TX: El Paso Ban on Domestic Partner Benefits Upheld By Judge

Wednesday, May 25th, 2011

Tom BrownIn November 2010, El Paso’s Pastor Tom Brown organized a ballot referendum banning the city from offering domestic partners benefits. Only after the measure passed did the city realize that it was so broadly written, it would also ban benefits for retired cops and firefighters. Nevertheless, yesterday a federal judge upheld the ban.

The ordinance forcing the city of El Paso to “uphold traditional family values” will stand, and elected officials, retirees, affiliated service contractors, domestic partners of employees and certain dependent children will be left out, ruled a federal judge.

“This is an example of how direct democracy can have unexpected consequences,” wrote Federal Judge Frank Montalvo quoting James Madison. The plaintiffs who filed the lawsuit included city employees, domestic partners of city employees, retirees and even elected officials.

Full Story from Joe.My.God

Click here for gay marriage resources in Texas.

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El Paso: Anti-Gay Candidates Trying to Take Over City Council

Tuesday, March 15th, 2011

Every race for the El Paso, Texas, city council has a candidate connected to the movement to rescind city employees’ domestic-partner benefits, according to an investigation by local TV station KVIA.

Voters last year approved a ballot measure rescinding the benefits for municipal workers’ same-sex and unmarried opposite-sex partners, but its vague wording meant it went further than its proponents intended — for instance, it could take away benefits from spouses of elected officials, as elected officials are technically not city employees. It has not gone into effect yet because it is being challenged in court, with a judge expected to issue a ruling in April. The council had OK’d the benefits in 2009, and the coverage began to be offered to employees in 2010.

On Monday, the last day to file for a place on the ballot in the May 14 election, KVIA reported that in all four of this year’s council races (the council has eight seats in all, with terms staggered) there are candidates tied to the antigay effort, spearheaded by El Pasoans for Traditional Family Values.

Full Story from The Advocate

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TX: El Paso Considers Putting Domestic Partners Benefits Back on Ballot

Thursday, January 13th, 2011

After a ballot measure passed in November to rescind domestic partner benefits for El Paso employees, the City Council is considering another ballot measure to restore them.

The November ballot measure sponsored by religious groups aimed to take away benefits for the partners of gay and lesbian employees. However, because it was so vaguely worded, the ballot measure also threatened benefits for the partners of retired city workers, and it’s now the subject of a federal lawsuit.

The El Paso Times reports on the latest development: The El Paso City Council on Tuesday introduced a proposed ordinance for a May ballot initiative that would restore health benefits to gay and unmarried partners of city employees.

Full Story from The Dallas Voice

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TX: Cancellation of Health Benefits in El Paso on Hold Pending Trial

Thursday, December 23rd, 2010

The City of El Paso has moved the lawsuit titled Ronald G. Martin, Jr., et. al. vs. The City of El Paso, Texas; Cause No. 2010-4936, from the State Court to Federal Court. U.S. District Court Judge Frank Montalvo has extended the Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) from December 29, 2010 to January 13, 2011 at 9:00 a.m., when a preliminary injunction hearing is scheduled to take place.

Due to the TRO, the City of El Paso has advised those employees/retirees who previously received letters cancelling their coverage because of the ordinance that they will not see a benefit change at this time. The City will continue to keep them informed concerning this litigation and what impact it has on their benefits.

At El Paso City Council’s meeting this past Tuesday, City Council skipped a compromise in the battle for benefits of domestic partners, because of a judge’s restraining order, paving the way for the lawsuit against the city by some slated to lose their health insurance.

Full Story from KVIA

Click here for gay marriage resources in Texas.

To subscribe to this blog, use the rss feed on the right, or use the form at right to join our email list. You can also email us at info@purpleunions.com. Or find us on Facebook – just search for Gay Marriage Watch (you’ll see our b/w wedding pic overlooking the Ferry Building and Bay Bridge in SF). We’re also tweeting daily at http://www.twitter.com/gaymarriagewatc.