FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                                                                

Contact: Dione Friends, Online Media Coordinator, ACLU of Texas, (832) 291-4816 or (713) 942-8146 x 110; media@aclutx.org

HOUSTON –Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott in a nonbinding opinion wrote the state Constitution prohibits government entities from offering “domestic partner” insurance benefits to  their employees. The following quote can be attributed to Terri Burke, ACLU of Texas Executive Director:

“It's one thing when Attorney General Greg Abbott and Gov. Perry don't want to provide health insurance for the poor and unemployed, but now he wants to play politics with workers’ access to insurance coverage for their families?  For most workers, health insurance benefits for ourselves and our families are a large share of our total compensation.  The counties, cities, and school districts that offer domestic partner benefits are only trying to give their employees equal pay for equal work, regardless of marital status or sexual orientation.  It’s not only a good business practice embraced by the majority of Fortune 500 companies—it’s also just the right thing to do.”

The following quote can be attributed to Rebecca L. Robertson, ACLU of Texas Legal and Policy Director:

“The Attorney General’s opinion that government employers who offer domestic partner benefits are somehow in conflict with the Texas constitution’s definition of marriage is just that--an opinion--and we strongly disagree with him.  Contrary to the AG’s reasoning, giving an employee the ability to purchase insurance coverage for his or her family does not create a legal relationship even remotely similar to marriage.  The good news is that AG opinions do not have the force the law, so unless a Texas court issues a ruling on the subject, there shouldn’t be any legal impediment to government employers continuing to do the right thing for their employees.”

Read our brief to the Attorney General.