You may have caught the reformed Marty Schladen's article in the EP Times this week on the domestic partner benefits fight brewing at the city. If you didn't, read the article HERE.
We've got a major problem brewing here now that this matter has become a public fight. If you read the article and understand it, the measure being voted on will create a lot of unintended consequences for current and past employees of the city. It seems that the Jesus Freaks' minor win, will be a major loss for people who aren't gay.
I think that's funny, because many Americans think that we take extraordinary measures to accommodate a very tiny group of folks - the gays. The Jesus Freaks often claim that we do things for the gays that adversely affect everyone else. It seems that the Jesus Freaks have now propagated that very scenario by screwing retirees and current employees with kids between 18 and 25 in an effort to fight the gays. Somebody should invent a saying about using a firearm to shoot oneself in a nonlethal, but useful part of the body to describe what the Jesus Freaks did here.
The simple fact is that the measure will pass when the voters go to the polls. El Paso is not tolerant of the gays. It's not something the local democrats like to talk about too much seeing as how their party is the one that should be championing gay rights. Just remember that it wasn't but a few months ago that a democrat used another democrat's sexual orientation as a campaign jab. When the party in town that is said to love the gays acts like that, what can you expect out of a vote of the people at large?
The interesting part of this whole story doesn't sit within the halls of the socially intolerant Jesus Freaks' glass house. It resides within the world of government institutions and the separation administrative policy and what can only be described as political policy.
A municipal administrator from a bible beating city in east Texas told me that there was no reason this issue should have been on a council agenda. It seems that many Texas municipalities have simply made the decision to allow for domestic partner benefits as offered to them by most all insurance companies who offer plans to local governments and private businesses. Employee benefits outside their pension are generally handled by human resources. Employment issues as a whole are handled by administrative staff and then by an appointed civil service board if needed (for disclosure - my mother is on the civil service board). There are good reasons not to have elected city council members involved in the day to day HR activities of the city. The least of them being simple confidentiality laws.
It appears that at some point a member of city council decided to make this administrative issue a political issue. The city manager could have instructed the HR department to go ahead with insuring the gays and unmarried heterosexuals without council's approval. Somehow the issue was put on council's agenda and now you have a fight that should have never escalated to this point. This was all done because some ultra-liberal on council wanted to prove an ultra-liberal point for no other reason than to put a feather in their cap.
Well, now gays and the unmarried non-gays won't be getting benefits along with retirees and the adult children of employees. Was politicizing what was simply an administrative call worth screwing all those people? I don't think so, but our city council would rather try to show off rather than be effective legislators.
You can't blame a dog for being a dog. If you let him in the house, don't surprised if he lifts his leg and chews on the furniture. In the same light, you can't blame a Jesus Freak for being a Jesus Freak. If you let them into your administrative policy, don't be surprised if they attack the gays and screw the retirees in the process.
Bottom line - this should have been an internal decision (and from my research, was a decision made in the 1990's, but for some reason wasn't offered to employees - it was funded way back then), not a Tuesday morning council vote.