Bexar County Commissioners voted today to extend benefits like insurance coverage to the gay partners of county and Bexar County Hospital District employees, but they did it in a way they hope will withstand legal scrutiny, 1200 WOAI news reports.
Rather than specifically cite 'same sex partners' as the recipients of the benefits, the measure approved by Commissioners allows employees to designate 'one qualifying adult' to share their benefits, just as long as they can prove that their finances and the adult's finances are 'interdependent.'
"Allowing two adults, regardless of their relationship with each other, to qualify for this program," Judge Nelson Wolff said.
The measure specifically outlaws parents, grandparents and 'tenants and boarders' from qualifying under the new law.
Wolff said the county took the move following an Attorney General's opinion last year that specifying 'same sex partners' to receive benefits would be a violation of state law, because it would establish the gay relationship as having the same legal status as a marriage. The Texas Constitution outlaws gay marriage.
"The employee plus one qualifying adult must have resided together in the same place for at least 12 months, and must continue to do so," Wolff said.
The county now has its policies more in line with the City of San Antonio, which has extended benefits to same sex partners for the last year.