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Mistake in El Paso Antigay Law

Mistake in El Paso Antigay Law

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Encouraged by local religious leaders like pastor Tom Brown (pictured), El Paso, Texas, voters stripped domestic-partner benefits from gay workers in November, but now the city is discovering they may have also taken benefits away from retired police officers and elected officials.

The ordinance, which passed with 55% of the vote November 2 and went into effect January 1, asked voters to endorse "traditional family values" by limiting benefits to "city employees and their legal spouse and dependent children." The wording of the measure came from its religious proponents -- the church leaders couldn't get an attorney to advise them on the verbiage. Now not only are El Paso's gay residents furious, but so are union leaders, because thousands of their retirees could lose benefits for their heterosexual domestic partners (the partners of elected officials could lose health benefits too, because city politicians are not considered city employees). While El Paso officials are looking at amending the ordinance, the unions are preparing a lawsuit.

"I have no regrets," Brown, the pastor, tells TheWall Street Journal. "We did what was right."

Read the full story here.

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