Dallas Approves Benefits for Same-Sex Partners

     DALLAS (CN) - The same-sex domestic partners of Dallas County workers are eligible for medical benefits after the Commissioners Court voted the measure in Tuesday.
     In a 3-2 vote along party lines, the court approved a subsidy for the purchase or continuation of private medical insurance for any county employee's domestic partner and children, according to the court's agenda.
     The subsidy will be offered to both same-sex and opposite-sex couples as long as they provide proof that they have lived together for at least six months.
     Commissioners John Wiley Price and Elba Garcia and County Judge Clay Jenkins - all Democrats - approved the measure. Republican Commissioners Maurine Dickey and Mike Cantrell voted against the measure.
     Dickey questioned the costs of the program, which are estimated to cost the county approximately $100,000 a year.
     "This is not a gender issue," Dickey said. "This is an economic issue."
     She also questioned the allocation of benefits for a separate group of employees, asking whether there should be special programs for the obese or smokers.