By Associated Press

Move comes after complaints by ACLU, others

INCLINE VILLAGE, Nev. — A governmental agency at Lake Tahoe has reinstated health care insurance benefits to domestic partners of employees after hearing complaints from the American Civil Liberties Union and others.

The Incline Village General Improvement District board’s action, taken on a 4-1 vote Wednesday night, March 11 came after it revoked the benefits on a 3-2 vote Feb. 25.

The earlier vote prompted protests by the ACLU and Human Rights Campaign, among others.

River Coyote, an Incline Village woman who married her partner of 11 years in May 2007 shortly after the California Supreme Court overturned a ban against gay marriage, praised the board for reconsidering the issue.

"It takes a lot of courage to listen when you knew you were coming in here to a lot of people who were upset," she said.

The board reviewed the issue at the request of board member Bea Epstein, who was on the losing side of last month’s 3-2 vote, the North Lake Tahoe Bonanza reported.

That action reversed the board’s vote last August in favor of offering domestic partner benefits.

About 60 people attended Wednesday’s meeting, and many spoke about equality and fairness.

"We should not say to one employee that we are going to pay you less because we don’t approve of the relationship you have entered into," said board member Chuck Weinberger.

The lone dissenting vote was cast by board member John Bohn, who has said he opposed the benefits because he doesn’t think the north Lake Tahoe community supports them.

Opponents of the benefits also cited the need to cut costs and the potential for abuse.

According to the district, the vote affected only two employees.

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