Pueblo council schedules vote on same-sex benefits proposal

Lindsay Watts, Weekend GMC Anchor/Target 13 Investigator , l.watts@krdo.com
POSTED: 10:10 PM MDT Sep 24, 2012    UPDATED: 12:44 PM MDT Sep 25, 2012 
PUEBLO, Colo. -

The Pueblo City Council decided Monday to move forward with a measure that would extend certain benefits to gay city workers and their partners.

It comes after council members voted 5-1 at their last meeting to indefinitely table the issue, leaving gay rights supporters outraged.

Supporter Daneya Esgar said she now feels "cautiously optimistic" about the proposed ordinance. She said she felt shocked and betrayed when the measure was unexpectedly put off. Shhe and other supporters said they were confident it had the votes to pass.

"If anything it's, I believe, encouraged our community to come together even stronger to really be sure to hold those that we elect accountable to what they say they're going to do for us," she said.

Council president Chris Kaufman offered an apology on behalf of council to angry supporters.

"I understand that many people who were here that night were offended and, if that was the case, I just want to make that apology to them," Kaufman said.

He went on to say that some council members wanted more time to study the issue.

"It was not the intent to be malicious or try to prove a point," Kaufman said.

The ordinance proposal, brought forward by council members Sandy Daff and Steve Nawrocki, would give health insurance and other benefits to partners of gay city workers.

It's not known how many gay workers could be affected. Costs were estimated for eight employees and that came out to about $55,000.