SAN ANTONIO The cost of extending benefits to domestic partners who work for the City of San Antonio is less than one-tenth of 1 percent of the city's budget, but protestors say that's still too much.

Extending benefits to city employees in same sex relationships would cost between $300,000 and $400,000 a year -- a small fraction of the total $2.2 billion budget which would go into effect October 1.

The move would also put San Antonio in the same category as many other Texas cities and companies, including USAA and Rackspace that currently offer benefits to domestic partners.

However, a local group calling itself Voices for Marriage protested the proposed change on Monday outside city hall. The group, citing religious views and current state law, opposes any extension of benefits to domestic partnerships.

Pastor Gerald Ripley issued a fact sheet to those in attendance, listing 14 reasons why the group opposes the change. The document said, We believe marriage is a legally binding relationship between one man and one woman and a vote for domestic partner benefits is a vote against upholding the institution of marriage .

San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro, who backs the change, said the city needs to extend benefits to domestic partners in order to stay competitive with other cities and companies across the country that already offer similar benefits. The mayor dismissed oncerns by many protestors over the cost of benefits as a smokescreen for their dislike of gays and lesbians.

City council must still vote on the change.

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