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Petition could overturn same-sex benefits in Pueblo

By Lila Hollin, Telemundo Anchor/Pueblo Bureau Reporter, l.hollin@krdo.com
Published On: Nov 09 2012 07:10:06 PM CST
PUEBLO, CO -

Pueblo City Council approved same-sex health benefits for city employees, but now a petition has been started to stop it.

A referendum petition needs 1,137 to repeal a city ordinance 30 days after its passed. One man got 1,500 signatures and turned them in just in time.

"It's a very passionate issue," said City Clerk Gina Dutcher.

Dutcher and her staff are verifying signatures one by one. If the petition has enough signatures it could mean two things for same-sex health benefits for city employees.

"They would repeal the ordinance and we would go back to the way we were, not offering benefits to same sex couples or it would go to a special election," said Dutcher.

A special election isn’t cheap.

 "That would cost $150,000," said Dutcher.

Dutcher believes it's more than just repealing the same-sex health benefits decision.

"There are certain topics that the people believe should just be the decision of the people, not of the elected officials. That is how the group who formed the petition felt. They felt it was a decision that should be made by the voters," said Dutcher.

If all the signatures are verified, the ordinance would be suspended and council would have to decide on their next move.

 Despite the ordinance passing, no city employee have yet applied to receive the same-sex health benefits.

 The city clerk's office has 10 days to approve  the signatures and decide if the petition passes.

If City Council decides on a special election it would be held in April.

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