By Julie Bolcer

Originally published on Advocate.com August 26 2009 2:25 PM ET

The El Paso City Council voted 7-1 on Tuesday to extend health benefits to the domestic partners of city employees, including same-sex couples, reports KVIA-TV.

The vote followed hours of public comments about whether to include health benefits for domestic partners in the city’s 2010 budget. The proposal is expected to cover around 45 employees at a cost of up to $390,000.

El Paso residents addressed the city council about the issue for the third time in three weeks on Tuesday. Heated debate touched on justice, morality, and religion at many points.

Carl Robinson, the only city council member to vote against the domestic-partnership measure, cited economic concerns and suggested religious reasons.

“I’ve been called names. I’ve been called bigot,” he said, according to KFOX-TV. “I’m not moved. I will not be moved, because I know at the end of the day someone is standing with me.”