Sep 10, 2012 10:42 PM by David Ortiviz

Breaking: Council tables same-sex benefits vote

In a surprising move, Pueblo City Council decided to table a vote on whether to extend equal benefits to city employees in a same-sex domestic partnership. The vote was 5-1, with councilwoman Ami Nawrocki the lone member who voted to keep it on tonight's agenda.

"We thought we had the votes to pass this tonight and the tabling it indefinitely came out of left field," said Daneya Esgar, Lead Community Organizer at Colorado Progressive Coalition. "I was in disbelief," she added.

The decision outraged members of the gay and lesbian community, some of whom planned to speak at a public hearing prior to council's vote. No publilc comment was allowed.

"We are going to win equality for all workers in Pueblo," said Theresa Trujillo, Southern Colorado Director of the Colorado Progressive Coalition.

If approved, the ordinace would have granted same-sex couple benefits for all city employees, including health insurance and sick and medical leave. "Right now they don't have those rights and to me this is about offering families that type of support," said Dawn DiPrince, who worked with Esgar to get this issue to city council.

The ordinace passed on first reading by a unanimous vote, at a previous council meeting. Council didn't give a clear reason as to why it decided to table the issue indefinitely. "All I can tell you is there's been some new information presented to this council that needs to be discussed in a work session setting," said Council President Chris Kaufman.

Councilman Steve Nawrocki, who cosponsored the ordinance, was out of town and unable to vote tonight.


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