It's been in the works for over a year and was delayed another few weeks by a walkout during the September 25 DART board meeting by members Michael Cheney (representing Garland) and Randall Chrisman (representing Carrollton, Irving) just as the issue was about to come up for a final vote.
The Cheney and Chrisman walkout denied the 15 member board a quorum and forced a delay of the final vote until the October DART board meeting.
But at last night's DART (Dallas Area Rapid Transit) board meeting my TBLG peeps and allies in North Texas got to celebrate their delayed major victory when the DART board voted 10-3 to extend health care benefits to the domestic partners of unmarried DART employees.
Translation: that also extends them to SGL couples.
We unfortunately have had since 2005 one of those odious marriage bans contaminating the Texas Constitution, so the words "same-sex partners" are not used in this DART policy because Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott (R) says the state does not recognize same-sex partnerships.
DART's new policy was crafted with a major assist from Rafael McDonnell, the Communications and Advocacy Manager of Resource Center Dallas.and strikes a balance between Abbott's unjust rulings and the Supreme Court's decision to strike down the Defense of Marriage Act.
The new DART policy takes effect in January and is a “one-plus” plan that will allow a DART employee to cover one unrelated adult in his or her household.
The unrelated adult cannot be eligible for health benefits through the government or another employer, and the person added must prove that he or she has lived with the DART employee for at least one year.
"This is an issue of fairness and competition," McDonnell said in an interview. "It sends a signal to future DART employees that this is a place that values you regardless of who you are and who you love."
Omar Narvaez echoed the feelings of many people supporting the measure and said the passage was a long time coming.
"This has probably been the most overly examined, low cost issue in DART history," Narvaez said North Texas area TransGriot readers, here's the list of DART board members and how they voted on this domestic partners benefits issue so you know who to properly thank and show some love to.
Richard Carrizales (Dallas)
Jerry Christian (Dallas)
Amanda Moreno Cross (Dallas)
John Danish (Irving)
Pamela Dunlop Gates (Dallas)
Gary Slagel (Addison, Highland Park, Richardson, University Park)
Robert Strauss (Dallas)
William Tsao (Dallas)
William Velasco II (Dallas, Cockrell Hill)
Faye Moses Wilkins (Farmers Branch, Plano)
Michael Cheney (Garland)
Randall Chrisman (Carrollton, Irving)
Mark Enoch (Garland, Glenn Heights, Rowlett)
Jim Adams (Dallas)
Paul Wageman (Plano)
Congratulations North Texas BTLG family. This was another win worth celebrating that once again points out to the peeps on I-5 and I-95 that just because you live in a Red state, it doesn't mean that you can't get GLBT human rights stuff passed.
Can't wait to see what y'all pull off on your end of I-45 next.