Pflugerville to offer domestic partner benefits - MyFoxAustin.com | KTBC Fox 7 | News, Weather, Sports

Pflugerville to offer domestic partner benefits

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Pflugerville ISD will start offering insurance benefits to domestic partners of employees, including same sex and heterosexual partners. The school district is the first in Central Texas and possibly the state to offer such benefits.

"Our students come from exceptionally diverse backgrounds and they know what discrimination looks like," says Pflugerville ISD Superintendent Charles Dupre.

It was that way of thinking that led the district to making the decision to offer benefits to domestic partners.

"This is not a political statement. This isn't about anything other than the fact that in Pflugerville ISD we believe in taking care of one another. We believe everyone has a voice, everyone is valued for their contributions to this organization," said Dupre.

But, some conservative groups, like Texas Values, don't agree with the decision. President Jonathan Saenz believes the district is making a political statement.

"The decision by the superintendent of Pflugerville ISD to make a drastic change in their policy is a major political decision and it's quite frankly shocking they would do this without letting the public be involved, without a public hearing," said Saenz.

He believes the district is going against the state's Defense of Marriage Act.

"That's in our constitution that marriage is between one man and one woman so to try to recognize some other type of arrangement and suggest that it's similar to marriage is against our constitution," he said.

Chuck Smith with Equality Texas argues, "The simple reality is that in 2012 offering access to domestic partner benefits is becoming a standard component. It's about supporting families."

He points out that many government agencies and Texas-based companies already offer those benefits.

"I think we will see additional districts do it and I take my hat off to the Pflugerville superintendent cause he's probably going to take whatever flack there might be."

Some of that "flack" includes questions about the cost. According to Dupre, the new benefits option comes at no cost to taxpayers and no additional cost to the district.

"For anyone who believes were supporting inappropriate agendas, we're not using their tax payer dollars to do that," said Dupre.

Open enrollment begins October 15. The benefits go into effect January 1. It's unclear how many of the district's 2,500 employees will take advantage of the new benefits.

 

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