Houston mayor puts partner benefits on hold

By Advocate.com Editors

Originally published on Advocate.com February 14 2001 12:00 AM ET

Houston mayor Lee Brown said Tuesday that he will put on hold his plan to offer health care benefits to the same-sex partners of city employees, the Houston Chronicle reports. Instead, Brown said, he will push for an ordinance banning discrimination against gay men and lesbians. Brown says his shift in strategy follows a request from local gay activists who asked that the ordinance be passed before the benefits are extended, so gay employees don’t have to fear job loss if they come out in order to receive the benefits. The city council passed nondiscrimination protections for gay men and lesbians in 1985, only to have them repealed by a referendum. Brown himself issued a nondiscrimination order in 1998, but that order has been held up in court by an injunction filed by councilman Rob Todd, who says the mayor cannot issue an order that contradicts a public vote.