A DART Committee Voted to Offer Domestic Partner Benefits Yesterday

DART's policy, or lack thereof, for offering health coverage for employees' gay and lesbian partners was thrust into the spotlight last summer when former police officer Andrew Moss launched a petition calling for change after his husband (at least under California law) was denied benefits.

The agency's board of directors has been kicking around proposals ever since with lots of talk but little progress.

That changed yesterday when DART's administrative committee gave preliminary approval to a plan to extend benefits to domestic partners, both gay and straight, and their children.

The Morning News' Tom Benning reported that there was only a bit of hesitation by committee members when Randall Chrisman, who was one of two to vote against the measure, asked if it's the right time to increase DART's healthcare burden, given that it's already a challenge for the agency.

"Are we on the cutting edge or are we beyond the cutting edge?" he asked, apparently failing to realize that local government passed that particular edge nearly a decade ago when the city of Dallas voted to provide similar benefits.

In the end, the final vote was 5-2, not even close, with Gary Slagel joining Chrisman in opposition. The measure will go into effect in January, pending approval by DART's full board.

According to the Morning News it will affect about 200 employees and family members and cost DART $734,849 each year. Final approval is up to the full board.

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