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DALLAS-Perot Systems Corp. apparently has become the first major Texas employer to offer complete benefits to same-sex domestic partners.
Employees of the Dallas-based computer services company were able to enroll domestic partners for health insurance and other benefits beginning this year.
Some small companies in the state already offer domestic partner benefits, but Perot Systems is the first large employer in Texas to make the move, said Steve Atkinson, president of the Dallas Gay & Lesbian Alliance.
Becoming the first large Texas employer to offer the option was "certainly not a motivating factor," according to a spokeswoman for Perot Systems. "One of the values of our company is to treasure our people regardless of their lifestyle, race, color and creed."
She said offering domestic partner coverage did not increase the cost of health care insurance. Employees and domestic partners must sign an affidavit saying they are in a long-term relationship to qualify for the coverage.
Perot Systems offers its workforce of about 4,600 the choice of enrolling in a preferred provider organization, a health maintenance organization or an indemnity plan.
The spokeswoman pointed out that many of Perot Systems' competitors with employees in the state also offer domestic partner benefits. "This is something that's pretty common in our industry."
Mr. Atkinson said he expects more large Texas employers to begin offering such benefits.
"The bottom line is, it's good business to be able to recruit and retain the best possible employees," he said. "In a lot of cases, the best employees happen to be gay and lesbian."