DART is Mulling Domestic Partner Benefits, Thanks to a Former Employee's Petition

This summer, Andrew Moss, a former DART police officer, launched a petition urging the transit agency to offer domestic partner benefits.

Moss had worked for DART until health problems forced him to step down in 2008. Though his husband continued to work there as a police officer, their marriage isn't recognized in Texas, and DART policy only extends benefits to employees' legal spouses. Moss, with his COBRA benefits set to expire in December, was facing a future without health coverage.

Despite all of that, the agency appeared reluctant to revisit its policies. "There are no plans currently to talk about a decision to expand benefits to domestic partners," DART spokesman Morgan Lyons told the Dallas Voice at the time.

That has now changed. DART's administrative committee is scheduled to discuss domestic partner benefits when it meets tomorrow afternoon. Lyons says the discussion was prompted by a board member -- Claude Williams, according to the Voice -- in response to Moss' petition.

Tuesday's discussion is primarily informational, with a review of the growing list of local agencies offering domestic partner benefits and how much they cost. But it's a step in the right direction, said Resource Center Dallas spokesman Rafael McDonnell.

"I think it's progress. We've moved from a point of (asking) 'Can DART offer them?' to 'How can DART offer them?'"

McDonnell thinks the administrative committee will be supportive of adding domestic partner benefits, since many of its members helped two years ago to update DART policy to include protection for transgendered employees. He's not yet sure how the full board will come down.

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Eric Nicholson
Contact: Eric Nicholson