Same-sex marriage decision's potential impact on El Paso County

Sunday, June 23, 2013 - 11:36pm

As the supreme court readies themselves to release their decision on two cases which challenge same sex marriage and benefits, the way the county approaches health benefits could change. Justices are expected to hand down a decision as early as Monday morning.

Like much of the nation, "It may be a really narrow decision that doesn't impact us at all. It may be a broad sweeping decision," Judge Veronica Escobar explained on June 10th. El Paso County officials are waiting to see what the supreme court decides on the Defense of Marriage Act and California's Proposition 8."We'll take action once we get that," Escobar said.

Both cases challenge the legality of same sex marriage and benefits. "Well, what I think of the same sex marriage I just have nothing wrong with it," Luis Ramirez, a West El Paso resident told us. Both he and East El Pasoan Lisa, who did not want to give us her last name, agree.

"Everyone's entitled to love who they want to love and be together. If they want to be together," Lisa said. "Every human being is entitled to have benefits regardless of sex, gender, sexual orientation," she further explained.

They also see eye-to-eye on the county's health coverage benefits program.

"I like them to get the same benefits. I don't see why not," Ramirez said.

Once the decision comes down, the county may change the name of their program to "Plus One" if the supreme court decides same sex marriage is illegal.

The program allows any couple who shares financial responsibility to enroll. Even though the residents we spoke with are for same sex marriage. There are a number of people within the Borderland who feel marriage should remain traditional, meaning between a man and a woman.


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