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ARLINGTON (CBS11) – The University of Texas System is extending medical and insurance benefits to spouses of its gay employees effective July 1.

The policy extending coverage to the spouses and children of gay employees was met by praise from gay rights groups.

But there are some privacy concerns.

The UT system will require a marriage certificate and application for anyone wanting to extend their coverage to their spouse.

“If someone wants to go ahead and claim the benefits, in essence they are coming out at work,” said Leticia Martinez Director of Multicultural Affairs at UT-Arlington.

Martinez and employees at her office say they hear from staff worried about being openly gay at school.

Schools like UTA have anti-discrimination policies protecting people based on sexual orientation.

But, they say there are no actual state laws in Texas protecting gays.

“And if they feel fearful of being in that identity here at work, of being out at work, that can get really complicated if they’re not protected at a state level,” Martinez said.

She said some she’s spoken with may need legal protections from the state Capitol before they feel comfortable cashing in on their new benefits.

“We hope that there’s going to be a trickle effect and that will protect people like that,” she said. “But we don’t know. That’s the unanswered question.”

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