Austin I.S.D. Gay Benefits Fast-tracked; Questions About Legality, Taxpayer Costs Remain
Austin, TX, August 22, 2013 – Yesterday, according to reports, Austin I.S.D. announced that they will now move forward to offer insurance benefits to same-sex domestic partners. The Austin I.S.D. board is expected to vote on this policy next Tuesday. Reports indicate that Austin I.S.D. will use the term “qualified individuals” to allow same sex partners to qualify for benefits, in an effort to allegedly avoid conflict with the Texas Constitution, which forbids recognition of “any legal status identical or similar to marriage.”
No information has been made available to indicate the costs of this new potentially expanded measure. Austin I.S.D. previously claimed that their “domestic partner” benefit proposal would cost taxpayers $600,000. Austin I.S.D. backed away from their original domestic partnership proposal earlier this year after Texas Attorney General Abbott ruled that such an effort is illegal as it conflicts with the Texas Constitution. Members of the Texas Legislature also made efforts to cut off funding to school districts that violated the Texas Constitution, including Austin I.S.D.
“These types of efforts are unconstitutional, as made clear by the Texas Constitution and Attorney General Greg Abbott’s recent opinion. The continued flip-flopping and new lawyer tricks by the Austin I.S.D. leadership shows they don’t understand the law, nor do they respect it,” said Jonathan Saenz, attorney and president of Texas Values.
“The fast-tracked nature of this new proposal suggests that Austin I.S.D. is hiding something from taxpayers. Austin taxpayers deserve to have all the details about the costs and how much money is set aside for related courts cases that challenge this measure,” concluded Saenz.
Equality Texas, a groups that advocates for gay, bisexual, lesbian and transgender persons, is already taking credit for assisting Austin I.S.D. on this matter.
Texas Values contacted Austin I.S.D. offices to obtain details of the proposal but no details were provided.
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