Dallas to further explore policies on LGBT employee benefits - Dallas News | myFOXdfw.com

Dallas committee passes resolution to explore LGBT employee benefits

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A Dallas City Council committee stopped short of making concrete changes to policies geared toward gay and lesbian employees on Tuesday, but it passed a resolution that it will look further into the matter.

On one hand, it was a broad statement of support, but the committee didn't make any specific decisions on any individual items, such as health care and pension issues, as some city staffers thought.

Members of the Budget and Finance Committee discussed moving forward with a resolution supporting the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community -- a discussion that started last year with a resolution on gay marriage that was never adopted by the council.

Tuesday's events were one step closer to doing that. Some on the committee are trying to find a way to embrace the LGBT community, as well as extend all employee benefits to same-sex couples. 

Others, however, are not.

"They've done nothing extra or special to get those rights," said Dallas City Councilman Sheffie Kadane."They're just gay and lesbians. I'm saying, all citizens, if one gets it, they all ought to get it."

"The committee moved a draft resolution forward to council, that, if successful at council, which I think it will be, will constitute a very strong and comprehensive statement for the rights of LGBT people," said Dallas City Councilman Philip Kingston.

The committee is also looking to improve the image of the City of Dallas.

Dallas ranked lower than Fort Worth, Austin and San Antonio in a survey of municipal equality that ranked 290 cities across the nation.

Specific changes to pension and health care coverage will be taken up one-by-one at subsequent meetings.

Once concrete measures are debated, then the changes will be discussed again later this month.

When a marriage equality proposal became a hot button issue about a year ago, Mayor Mike Rawlings didn't think it should go before the council.

Last June, gay rights advocates attended a city council meeting in hopes that it would reconsider the resolution.

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