Originally published on Advocate.com January 22 2004 1:00 AM ET
Employees of the city of Las Cruces, N.M., will now be able to get insurance and health benefits for their domestic partners. The city council, with one dissenting vote, approved the new domestic-partners policy on Tuesday. Under the policy, domestic partners, regardless of sexual orientation, can qualify for health and life insurance benefits currently available to employees' spouses. The policy requires domestic partners to show they have shared a primary residence for at least 12 months and that they share financial obligations.
City human resources director Kathe Stark said the new policy will cost the city $30,000 this year. The domestic-partners policy mirrors that of the state of New Mexico and New Mexico State University, she said. The city added sexual orientation to its nondiscrimination policy in December 2002. The council has been asked two times previously to consider a resolution that would have provided benefits to same-sex partners only. The resolution eventually was reworded to include all domestic partners.