West Texas county alters domestic-partner rules

Published on Tuesday, 23 July 2013 16:27 - Written by

EL PASO, Texas (AP) — A West Texas county has modified its employee health plan by changing the language in the policy to remove references to gay couples and domestic partners in order to make it "legally defensible."

The new language talks about a "plus one" program, set to begin next year, in which employees can include another adult in the plan, as long as certain requirements are met.

El Paso County Judge Veronica Escobar told The Associated Press on Tuesday the change was made to avoid future lawsuits.

The county was sued after Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott issued a nonbinding opinion in May saying the Texas Constitution doesn't permit a legal status for domestic partnerships or allow for public benefits based on it.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.