Local News

Pueblo council refuses to vote on same-sex partner benefits proposal

Angry supporters storm out of council meeting

No vote on same-sex couple benefits in Pueblo

PUEBLO, Colo. - Dozens of angry people stormed out of the Pueblo City Council meeting Monday after council members indefinitely shelved a proposal to let gay city workers claim benefits for their partners.

"We thought we were going to walk away tonight with a victory for all of Pueblo," said Daneya Esgar, who worked to get the measure passed.

Esgar said she and other backers of the measure believed they had four council members willing to vote in favor, even with the co-sponsor of the ordinance, Steve Nawrocki, out of town. Instead of voting on the issue that would allow gay city workers to add their partners to their insurance and other benefits, council voted to put off any decision.

"I was in disbelief," said Esgar. "We have worked so hard and made so many connections with so many of the council members. To watch them vote to table this indefinitely-- I'm still in shock right now."

KRDO Newschannel 13 asked council members about their decision after the meeting was over.

"It was apparent this was not going to pass tonight, so putting this on the shelf  was a way to guarantee that we could take a look at this in the future," said Sandy Daff, the council member who co-sponsored the measure with Nawrocki.

Daff said she was disappointed by what happened, even though she voted in favor of shelving the vote. She said she would work to get the issue back on the table, although she couldn't say when.

"I have every faith this council will make the right decision, "said Daff.

Council member Chris Kaufman said he voted to put off the issue because it bypassed a council work session and he feels it needs more review.

"From the time it was brought forth from the first reading to the second reading, it went from no cost to the city to anywhere between $50,000 to $60,000 for the city," said Kaufman. "I think that's a big concern to a lot of us on council."

Outside the meeting, supporters gathered and vowed not to give up.

"We are going to win equality for all workers in Pueblo!" one woman yelled.

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