September 23rd, 2011
Domestic Partner Benefits Approved In San Antonio

The City of San Antonio, under the leadership of Mayor Julián Castro, recently voted to give health benefits to the domestic partners of city employees. Predictably, there was some protest against the move, hinging mostly upon either “moral” arguments or economic ones (the change is going to cost about $300,000, but you won’t see that same argument made about heterosexual spouses, so it’s not really a logical one).

The vote was 8 to 3 and makes San Antonio the fourth city in Texas to provide such benefits. The Examiner reported:

“There are not going to be any second class citizens in San Antonio,” proclaimed the Alamo City’s mayor Julian Castro, as the City Council voted for including city employees in domestic partnerships extended health benefits…

The passed budget means the benefits for domestic partners will go into effect during the city’s next enrollment period, provided proof of qualification is provided.

Proof includes a signed affidavit, two documents such as a joint lease mortgage, joint bank account, or joint credit card, and documents showing beneficiary status of life insurance or a will.

City estimates offered earlier this week indicate 30 employees could potentially take advantage of the benefits.

For me, the big takeaway here is this:  Latinos are not a “values”-driven voting bloc that’s going to automatically favor “traditional” marriage. Remember that San Antonio is a majority Latino city, many of the council members are Latino, and the city was founded as a Catholic mission.

Even in a place that’s considered culturally conservative it’s possible to create policies that are beneficial to employees and residents. This, for me at least, is part of a larger trend in San Antonio, though, as far as taking the lead on big, national issues. San Antonio, under the leadership of Mayor Castro, has also taken a lead on “green” issues.

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One thought on “Domestic Partner Benefits Approved In San Antonio

  1. All prejudice and bigotry aside, this is a very good business decision.   Almost all employer sponsored health care plans only pay a portion of employee coverage and no part of dependent coverage, spouse or children. For the city, the major advantage in expanding dependent coverage is the reduced burden on the tax-payer funded County Health Care System. Dependent coverage provides employees with two major advantages. First, pre-existing conditions ARE covered, not excluded as with individual plans. Second, group insurance rates are MUCH LESS than individual rates. For example, the cost of covering dependents with a quality individual plan will run $200-400 per month. The cost of adding dependents to an employer sponsored group plan is less than half that amount. Bottom line: coverage for dependents, spouse or children, male or female, makes absolutely no difference! 

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