A vote by the Dallas County Commissioners on whether to approve domestic partner status for county employees, which will allow their partners and dependents to receive access to health care benefits, will take place next week.
County Commissioners discussed the proposal Tuesday and will now vote on the proposal next week.
District 4 Commissioner Dr. Elba Garcia said the proposal helps the county to catch up with the rest of the world and that it's the right thing to do.
Not all Commissioners shared Garcia's sentiments. District 2 Commissioner Mike Cantrell was the most vocally opposed to the proposal and he said it could violate state and federal law. Cantrell added that he believes the push to pass the measure is not motivated by equality.
"It's merely a political agenda that is being pushed by those seeking favor with a certain group of voters," Cantrell said.
In the proposal, a domestic partner would be defined as someone of the same or opposite sex with whom the employee lives and shares a relationship with, according to papers prepared for the commission's approval.
In order to attain domestic partner status, an employee would have to prove that they have lived with their partner for at least six months and share financial and household responsibilities with them.
They will need to provide a lease or mortgage documentation with both names listed, or proof of a joint bank or credit account, or a utility bill that lists the names of both partners on it.
The health insurance benefits would not be directly awarded, according to county documents. The county employee would be paid a subsidy that they would have to use to purchase a private insurance policy. In order to continue the subsidy, the employee would have to provide quarterly proof that a policy has in fact been purchased.