Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Dallas City Council passes comprehensive resolution of support for its LGBT employees

DALLAS -- The Dallas city council passed a comprehensive LGBTQ equality resolution in a 13-2 vote Wednesday. The council voted on the so-called “comprehensive statement of support” for Dallas’ LGBT employees, after Mayor Mike Rawlings also indicated his support last week.
Although Rawlings had been opposed to a marriage equality resolution last year saying he believed was a “misuse” of time, he voted in favor of the resolution after an executive session last Wednesday during which- what the Mayor had termed pressing legal questions- were addressed.
The resolution directs city manager A.C. Gonzales to address inequalities in the city’s pension plan and health-care plan for its employees.
The Dallas Morning News noted Wednesday that Gonzales will begin the task of sorting through the resolution to see which issues can be addressed first — whether it’s a redo of the pension plan or lobbying the state to do more for the LGBT community or finding ways to up the city’s score on the Municipal Equality Index. The council, and Allen’s budget and finance committee, will begin addressing that to-do list in coming weeks and months.
“The homework has already started in terms of conversations with pension staff and the HR dept … to identify steps that are needed to affect change,” Gonzalez told the council. “I would anticipate in the next quarter we’ll have a report on the things that are doable and the timeframe to make them happen and move accordingly.”
Council member Sheffie Kadane, one of the two members voting against the resolution labeled it discrimnatory.
“This resolution is discriminatory,” said Kadane. “You’re bringing out and considering one group only, and everybody in this city ought to be able to have these same rights. You have two brothers living together should have the same rights a GLBT. Two guys just living together should have the same rights as LGBT. I think this should read LGBT-plus-one. That considers everyone in the city.” 
Council member Vonciel Jones Hill, a local baptist Minister who also voted against the measure offered no public statements regarding the resolution.