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Wed May 13, 2015, 12:38 PM

Firms Tell Gay Couples: Wed or Lose Your Benefits

Wedding bells will ring later this year if the Supreme Court decides that gay couples are constitutionally entitled to marry. But health insurance, more than romance, may nudge some couples down the aisle.

Amid a push that has made same-sex marriage legal in 37 states and the District of Columbia, some employers are telling gay workers they must wed in order to maintain health-care coverage for their partners. About a third of public- and private-sector employees in the U.S. have access to benefits for unmarried gay partners, according to a federal tally, but employment lawyers say the fast-changing legal outlook is spurring some employers to rethink that coverage.

“If the Supreme Court rules that suddenly there is marriage equality in 50 states, the landscape totally changes,” says Todd Solomon, a law partner in the employee-benefits practice group at McDermott Will & Emery in Chicago, who has been tracking domestic partnership benefits for nearly two decades.

Such a decision will likely result in more employers dropping same-sex partner benefits in favor of spousal benefits, according to Mr. Solomon.

http://www.wsj.com/articles/gay-couples-tie-the-knot-for-health-benefits-1431475509

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Reply Firms Tell Gay Couples: Wed or Lose Your Benefits (Original post)
former9thward May 2015 OP
yeoman6987 May 2015 #1
former9thward May 2015 #7
WillowTree May 2015 #20
Behind the Aegis May 2015 #21
WillowTree May 2015 #24
Behind the Aegis May 2015 #26
WillowTree May 2015 #27
Behind the Aegis May 2015 #28
WillowTree May 2015 #31
Behind the Aegis May 2015 #35
hunter May 2015 #34
Behind the Aegis May 2015 #36
B2G May 2015 #43
Behind the Aegis May 2015 #46
B2G May 2015 #49
pnwmom May 2015 #74
LostOne4Ever May 2015 #78
diabeticman May 2015 #2
tritsofme May 2015 #3
former9thward May 2015 #4
tammywammy May 2015 #5
WillowTree May 2015 #18
Behind the Aegis May 2015 #19
SoCalNative May 2015 #55
JustAnotherGen May 2015 #6
Travis_0004 May 2015 #9
Behind the Aegis May 2015 #13
SoCalDem May 2015 #33
Behind the Aegis May 2015 #37
SoCalNative May 2015 #57
pnwmom May 2015 #75
JustAnotherGen May 2015 #8
Behind the Aegis May 2015 #14
jberryhill May 2015 #10
Vinca May 2015 #11
hunter May 2015 #38
Unvanguard May 2015 #12
former9thward May 2015 #15
Unvanguard May 2015 #32
former9thward May 2015 #52
Unvanguard May 2015 #58
uppityperson May 2015 #71
Unvanguard May 2015 #72
uppityperson May 2015 #73
dsc May 2015 #16
Behind the Aegis May 2015 #17
KamaAina May 2015 #22
JustABozoOnThisBus May 2015 #23
Behind the Aegis May 2015 #29
B2G May 2015 #41
Behind the Aegis May 2015 #42
B2G May 2015 #45
Behind the Aegis May 2015 #48
JI7 May 2015 #25
Behind the Aegis May 2015 #30
MADem May 2015 #68
jwirr May 2015 #39
B2G May 2015 #40
Behind the Aegis May 2015 #44
B2G May 2015 #47
Behind the Aegis May 2015 #50
B2G May 2015 #51
Behind the Aegis May 2015 #53
Behind the Aegis May 2015 #54
Hosnon May 2015 #66
treestar May 2015 #79
KT2000 May 2015 #56
Behind the Aegis May 2015 #61
KT2000 May 2015 #65
Behind the Aegis May 2015 #67
KT2000 May 2015 #69
Behind the Aegis May 2015 #83
KT2000 May 2015 #84
Behind the Aegis May 2015 #85
Politicalboi May 2015 #59
Unvanguard May 2015 #60
B2G May 2015 #70
Nye Bevan May 2015 #62
Behind the Aegis May 2015 #63
pnwmom May 2015 #76
Behind the Aegis May 2015 #80
pnwmom May 2015 #81
Behind the Aegis May 2015 #82
former9thward May 2015 #64
TexasBushwhacker May 2015 #77

Response to former9thward (Original post)

Wed May 13, 2015, 12:42 PM

1. Well worth the equality in all 50 states

 

It seems reasonable to have spousal benefits for all.

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Response to yeoman6987 (Reply #1)

Wed May 13, 2015, 12:49 PM

7. But there is this problem:

From the article:

That is causing some consternation among gay and lesbian employees and their advocates, who say they could be vulnerable to discrimination. Because marriage certificates are public, the documents may end up “outing” an employee, says Selisse Berry, chief executive of Out and Equal, a workplace advocacy group for gay and lesbian employees. The majority of U.S. states lack antidiscrimination protection for gay and lesbian employees, so workers can be fired for their sexuality, advocates say.

“No employee wants to have a benefit taken away, even if it is driven by this other sort of success,” says Jen Cornell, an employment attorney for Nilan Johnson Lewis in Minneapolis.

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Response to former9thward (Reply #7)

Wed May 13, 2015, 02:23 PM

20. Not a valid argument.

A gay employee who can (and does) now add his/her same sex partner to their insurance is already outing themselves.

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Response to WillowTree (Reply #20)

Wed May 13, 2015, 02:26 PM

21. It is quite valid.

If a person indicates they are in a same-sex marriage to their company, it is private, only within that company. However, a marriage license is a matter of public record and can lead to a host of other problems:

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Response to Behind the Aegis (Reply #21)

Wed May 13, 2015, 02:33 PM

24. Still not valid. Equal has to be equal.

If an opposite sex couple has to be married to enroll their partner for benefits, the same has to apply to same sex couples. Otherwise, the employer is opening themselves up to a descrimination suit on behalf of the straight couples.

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Response to WillowTree (Reply #24)

Wed May 13, 2015, 02:35 PM

26. But "equal is NOT equal".

Forcing gays and lesbians to marry in places which don't also protect their housing and jobs is NOT EQUAL footing! Oh, I am sure their are some bigots who will cry "heterophobia" because they are the "real" victims, it has always been that way with bigots.

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Response to Behind the Aegis (Reply #26)

Wed May 13, 2015, 02:40 PM

27. But that can't be a concern for the employer.

Again, the employer has to offer the same benefits and eligibility requirements to all employees.

The real problem here isn't that employers will be requiring same sex couples to be married in order to be eligible for benefits. The real problem is that merely legalizing same sex marriage doesn't solve all of the descrimination-related problems for gay and lesbian couples.

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Response to WillowTree (Reply #27)

Wed May 13, 2015, 02:43 PM

28. It should be.

This callousness demonstrates why homophobia is so pervasive. Just because we achieve marriage equality doesn't make us equal, and it is that lack of inequality that feeds the beast. In states, like mine, where anti-GLBT discrimination is still prevalent, exceptions should be made. What you are suggesting is an "Oh well, too bad, so sad...least you can marry, right? Be happy!"

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Response to Behind the Aegis (Reply #28)

Wed May 13, 2015, 02:48 PM

31. Nice characterization there.

Think I'll just stop responding to you now since merely stating the legalities that an employer must consider now apparently quailfies me as being somehow unsympathetic to the many serious issues that face the LGBT community.

I hope your day improves.

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Response to WillowTree (Reply #31)


Response to Behind the Aegis (Reply #26)

Wed May 13, 2015, 03:40 PM

34. Yep. Without the full protection of the law...

... it's the same sort of trouble as "don't ask, don't tell" was in the military.

Until gay and lesbian relationships are celebrated within a community (or at least accepted), and until these relationships are fully protected in law, gay and lesbian couples may have very good reason not to advertise their relationships.

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Response to hunter (Reply #34)

Wed May 13, 2015, 03:45 PM

36. Apparently, this is a difficult concept for some to understand.

Everything from flippant remarks about "careful what you wish for" and "fair is fair", people are not understanding the full ramifications of such an action.

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Response to Behind the Aegis (Reply #36)

Wed May 13, 2015, 04:02 PM

43. If you are living with your partner,

 

isn't that a big clue to everyone?

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Response to B2G (Reply #43)

Wed May 13, 2015, 04:05 PM

46. No. It isn't to everyone.

And even if it is, it doesn't change the fact a gay couple may be forced to make a choice between which civil rights are more important, something rarely facing heterosexuals.

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Response to Behind the Aegis (Reply #46)

Wed May 13, 2015, 04:09 PM

49. We are cross posting

 

I asked the question at the bottom of the thread. Will wait for your response.

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Response to Behind the Aegis (Reply #21)

Wed May 13, 2015, 07:16 PM

74. But the argument was the fear that they might be outed to their employer.

And that they would then be discriminated against by their employer, or even lose their job.

They have to out themselves to the employer to get insurance anyway. So why does a marriage certificate make this more of a problem?

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Response to Behind the Aegis (Reply #21)

Wed May 13, 2015, 07:30 PM

78. It is Bullshit that things like that can still happen

[font style="font-family:'Georgia','Baskerville Old Face','Helvetica',fantasy;" size=4 color=teal]Congress needs to get off its ass and pass ENDA and other anti-discrimination laws NOW!



Till then, insurance industry needs to take this into account and if they don't the entire LGBTQ community and those who support LGBTQ rights should pressure them into doing so.

The fact that so many states don't have laws protecting LGBTQ rights is shameful.

[/font]

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Response to former9thward (Original post)

Wed May 13, 2015, 12:45 PM

2. That's insane.

So either same sex individuals who don't marry will lose benefits? What about straight individuals who choose to be single. Will they lose benefits as well?

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Response to diabeticman (Reply #2)

Wed May 13, 2015, 12:48 PM

3. Yes, that is the exact implication. No benefits for a non-married partner, regardless of gender.

Makes sense to me in a world with marriage equality in all 50 states.

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Response to diabeticman (Reply #2)

Wed May 13, 2015, 12:48 PM

4. They already do.

If a single straight worker is living with a girlfriend she does not get benefits unless they wed.

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Response to diabeticman (Reply #2)

Wed May 13, 2015, 12:48 PM

5. The comparison would be an opposite sex couple that's not married.

Currently opposite sex non-married couples cannot share insurance benefits.

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Response to tammywammy (Reply #5)

Wed May 13, 2015, 02:13 PM

18. That depends on the state.

In some states people can enter a civil union that would require insurance dependent eligibility regardless of orientation.

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Response to WillowTree (Reply #18)

Wed May 13, 2015, 02:21 PM

19. Some don't even need that, as some places will recognize "common law" marriage.

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Response to WillowTree (Reply #18)

Wed May 13, 2015, 04:33 PM

55. Or a Domestic Partnership

And many companies recognize this, for both straight and gay couples.

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Response to diabeticman (Reply #2)

Wed May 13, 2015, 12:48 PM

6. My company NEVER

Recognized co-habituating members of the opposite sex.

They DID recognize same sex couples.

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Response to diabeticman (Reply #2)

Wed May 13, 2015, 12:59 PM

9. My company doesnt offer benefits to unmarried straight couples

 

If you want the benefits, get married.

They do offer them to unmarried gay couples.

Once marriage is open to all, then they want to make things fair across the board. . . .want benefits, get married.

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Response to Travis_0004 (Reply #9)

Wed May 13, 2015, 01:23 PM

13. There is a difference though.

It is highly unlikely that an unmarried heterosexual couple could be jeopardized by getting married. This is not always true with gays and lesbians. Take my state for example, Oklahoma. It is still legal to fire someone for being gay, and gay people have no protection in housing discrimination. So, gay couple is 'forced' to marry (marriage records are public records), effectively "outing" them to their landlord, who then kicks them out of the house --OR-- same-sex couple marries, one company offers benefits and 'forces' couple to marry, new husband/wife works for a place that fires him/her for being gay/lesbian.

If all things were really equal, and marriage equality were the last step, then it would make sense, but that isn't reality. Hopefully, there will be some consideration for those who may be in situations as described above.

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Response to diabeticman (Reply #2)

Wed May 13, 2015, 02:51 PM

33. Not really..

Hetero couples cannot add their girlfriend/boyfriend to their medical plan. Because marriage was not legal, companies extended the benefit to gay couples who could not get married, but now that states offer marriage, I think it's perfectly appropriate to ask that gay couples who have been using the partnership option, to marry..

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Response to SoCalDem (Reply #33)

Wed May 13, 2015, 03:47 PM

37. In some places, they most certainly can add them.

In other places, common law marriages are just as acceptable. It also depends on the climate of the state in question, because it could literally come down to, do you want benefits or a place to live.

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Response to SoCalDem (Reply #33)

Wed May 13, 2015, 04:36 PM

57. But many companies do

allow "domestic partners" either gay or straight to add their partners to the insurance.

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Response to diabeticman (Reply #2)

Wed May 13, 2015, 07:18 PM

75. Couples who weren't married wouldn't be entitled to spousal benefits, regardless of orientation. n/t

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Response to former9thward (Original post)

Wed May 13, 2015, 12:50 PM

8. Certain my company will go down this path

It was a way of blocking co-habituating opposite sex couples from the benefit burden.

They always recognized same sex couples since I've been here (2006).

I expect they will 'even things out'.

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Response to JustAnotherGen (Reply #8)

Wed May 13, 2015, 01:26 PM

14. There is the potential to a down side to it.

I described potential issues, as could happen in my state (there is also a comment in the article as to why some GLBT activists are a bit concerned). At face value, it would seem to make sense, but we both know, things aren't always as simple as they seem. Then, of course, one has to take in consideration potential issues like the laws being proposed in Texas and Wisconsin (?) which seek to pre-emptively address a positive ruling from SCOTUS.

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Response to former9thward (Original post)

Wed May 13, 2015, 01:09 PM

10. That was part of the whole "list of benefits denied because gays can't marry" argument

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Response to former9thward (Original post)

Wed May 13, 2015, 01:17 PM

11. If a company only offers benefits to married straight couples,

why shouldn't gay couples be required to be married (assuming it's legalized)?

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Response to Vinca (Reply #11)

Wed May 13, 2015, 03:53 PM

38. Plenty of answers in posts above.

There truly are difficulties in many places where the civil rights of LGBT people are not fully protected by law or community.

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Response to former9thward (Original post)

Wed May 13, 2015, 01:19 PM

12. Better to expand benefits to all unmarried couples. n/t

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Response to Unvanguard (Reply #12)

Wed May 13, 2015, 01:54 PM

15. That opens the door to unlimited fraud.

What is a couple? Two straight roommates? Without a formal wedding anyone could just get benefits for a friend --- or not even a friend -- just someone paying the employee to get benefits from the company.

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Response to former9thward (Reply #15)

Wed May 13, 2015, 02:51 PM

32. That's just as true for same-sex domestic partner benefits.

And "just as true" turns out to be "not true at all," because companies that offer benefits to same-sex unmarried partners (many of which also offer benefits to different-sex unmarried partners) have done so quite manageably without any serious problems with fraud. Different employers have different policies, but it's typical to require that beneficiaries are in an intimate, committed long-term relationship with the employee, that the two are co-resident, and that they support each other economically.

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Response to Unvanguard (Reply #32)

Wed May 13, 2015, 04:18 PM

52. Every word in your last sentence is subjective

and is open to interpretation. How a company would determine all those things is beyond me. Do they have cameras in the home?

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Response to former9thward (Reply #52)

Wed May 13, 2015, 04:42 PM

58. You are free to speculate about the problems with a standard that works just fine in practice.

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Response to Unvanguard (Reply #32)

Wed May 13, 2015, 06:52 PM

71. I disagree with this part, wondering what employer requires that?

"it's typical to require that beneficiaries are in an intimate, committed long-term relationship with the employee, that the two are co-resident, and that they support each other economically."

I have never been asked how intimate my husband and I or if we support each other economically. They have never asked how committed we are and actually we were able to get benefits from the first day of our marriage, hardly long-term relationship at that time. They also have never given a hoot whether or not we live together or not.

And I don't recall any of that in the marriage statute I read before I got married, any of the times I got married.

If that is the sort of marriage someone has, good for them, but I've never heard of an employer requiring all of that. Maybe not living in the Bible Belt, I've never run across it.

What employer do you know that requires "beneficiaries are in an intimate, committed long-term relationship with the employee, that the two are co-resident, and that they support each other economically"?

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Response to uppityperson (Reply #71)

Wed May 13, 2015, 06:55 PM

72. I'm talking about benefits for unmarried partners.

Employers don't ask those questions about spouses. They are proxies for marriage-like relationships (though, of course, not all marriages have those features).

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Response to Unvanguard (Reply #72)

Wed May 13, 2015, 06:58 PM

73. ah, thank you, my mistake. sorry. eom

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Response to former9thward (Original post)

Wed May 13, 2015, 01:58 PM

16. I am torn here

I tend to think that allowing unmarried gays to have benefits but not unmarried straights to, smacks of special rights but there is a non trivial issue of gays being without civil rights protections in over 2 dozen states. That said I think gays are going to have to choose between anonmynity and the benefits.

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Response to former9thward (Original post)

Wed May 13, 2015, 02:06 PM

17. Because this seems relevant to the discussion:

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Response to former9thward (Original post)

Wed May 13, 2015, 02:27 PM

22. Not gonna fly out here

 

California has registered domestic partner (RDP) status for everyone.

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Response to former9thward (Original post)

Wed May 13, 2015, 02:31 PM

23. "Be careful what you ask for" .....

... because you might get it.

This would seem to be a natural consequence of legalized marriage.

Not many companies treat boyfriend/girlfriend the same as a married couple when it comes to benefits, no matter the claim of commitment.

Equality.

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Response to JustABozoOnThisBus (Reply #23)

Wed May 13, 2015, 02:44 PM

29. "This would seem to be a natural consequence of legalized marriage."

No, it only applies to those of us who are gay.

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Response to Behind the Aegis (Reply #29)

Wed May 13, 2015, 03:57 PM

41. How so?

 

If you can legally get married, why should your benefits be any different than any other straight couple?

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Response to B2G (Reply #41)

Wed May 13, 2015, 04:01 PM

42. Because unlike heterosexuals, we face the possibility of other bigotries.

If "gay" marriage (marriage equality) becomes law, it will not change the status of other anti-GLBT laws in many states. Therefore, if a gay couple is "forced" to marry, it may well open them up to other forms of discrimination that heterosexuals neither face, nor are concerned by. Forcing gay couples in states like that (ones having additional anti-gay laws) may actually create a situation of "keep the benefits and lose the house" or "keep the house and lose the benefits." The standard is still not equal.

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Response to Behind the Aegis (Reply #42)

Wed May 13, 2015, 04:04 PM

45. But your employer already knows

 

What prevents you from going to city hall and getting married? It's not like you need to take an ad out in the paper.

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Response to B2G (Reply #45)

Wed May 13, 2015, 04:08 PM

48. Yes, the employer knows, that isn't the point.

"What prevents you from going to city hall and getting married? It's not like you need to take an ad out in the paper."


Are you familiar with marriage? It is a matter of PUBLIC RECORD and many states and locations PUBLISH all PUBLIC RECORDS FILED, including marriage licenses. When my now husband was 'just' my partner, only his employers had to be informed. When we got married, it was in the paper! It was actually the only reason my husband was hesitating about marriage because he didn't want it in the paper for fear of what could happen (thankfully, nothing), but the fear is justified.

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Response to former9thward (Original post)

Wed May 13, 2015, 02:34 PM

25. the problem with this is that gay rights are still being challenged, we have seen it

with states passing laws, the back and forth in courts etc. yes, there are some places where it may be more secure but overall there is still a way to go before it can be a given that a gay married couple will not have to deal with discrimination.

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Response to JI7 (Reply #25)

Wed May 13, 2015, 02:45 PM

30. There are some states where this wouldn't be an issue.

However, there are others, like Oklahoma, where this could be potentially devastating.

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Response to Behind the Aegis (Reply #30)

Wed May 13, 2015, 06:06 PM

68. Anyone brave enough to live in Oklahoma would probably do well to choose a

destination wedding. That way, there's no local publication of anything.

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Response to former9thward (Original post)


Response to former9thward (Original post)

Wed May 13, 2015, 03:55 PM

40. If gay marriage is legal, they need to marry to retain benefits

 

Such is equality.

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Response to B2G (Reply #40)

Wed May 13, 2015, 04:04 PM

44. It is not "equal" when it can force them to choose between civil liberties.

There are many states which can and do discriminate against gays in employment, housing, and other services. Having to publically declare one's sexual orientation through marriage may jeopardize other civil liberties.

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Response to Behind the Aegis (Reply #44)

Wed May 13, 2015, 04:07 PM

47. Unless I'm misunderstanding

 

this would apply when gay marriage is legal, bestowing all of the same marital rights on gay couples that are currently enjoyed by straight married couples.

Is it the potential stigma of being identified as gay that your worried about? What civil liberties are you concerned about?

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Response to B2G (Reply #47)

Wed May 13, 2015, 04:11 PM

50. What you aren't understanding is making marriage EQUAL (not gay) won't not make us equal everywhere.

There are states where gays can be thrown out of their homes, lose their jobs (say the other person involved has a job too), and other potential issues because of standing anti-GLBT laws in various states and locales. That is what you are not understanding.

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Response to Behind the Aegis (Reply #50)

Wed May 13, 2015, 04:15 PM

51. What states have ant-gay laws and what are they?

 

I honestly have no idea.

Are you saying that in certain states, gays can be evicted from their homes and fired, simply because of their sexual orientation?

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Response to B2G (Reply #51)

Wed May 13, 2015, 04:25 PM

53. Here are some maps...

"Are you saying that in certain states, gays can be evicted from their homes and fired, simply because of their sexual orientation?"

YES!


States that prohibit housing discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. HUD regulations require all housing providers that receive HUD funding not to discriminate against an individual's sexual orientation or gender identity.

purple - Prohibits housing discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity

blue - Prohibits housing discrimination based on sexual orientation only

gray - Does not factor sexual orientation or gender identity/unclear (27 States!

[hr]


Current U.S. LGBT employment discrimination laws.

dark purple - Sexual orientation and gender identity: all employment

lavender - Sexual orientation with anti–employment discrimination ordinance and gender identity solely in public employment

blue - Sexual orientation: all employment

magenta - Sexual orientation and gender identity: state employment

aqua - Sexual orientation: state employment

gray - No state-level protection for LGBT employees (18 states!!!)

source for both maps

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Response to B2G (Reply #51)

Wed May 13, 2015, 04:28 PM

54. Also adding this for you to read...

Anti-LGBT Bills Introduced in 28 States

The wave of anti-LGBT bills filed across the country continues to swell. As of today, lawmakers have introduced more than 85 anti-LGBT bills in 28 state legislatures.

Some state legislative sessions have already drawn to a close, but other state legislatures will be in session for several more weeks or even months. So far this year 34 anti-LGBT bills in nine states have been defeated or failed to meet key legislative deadlines, but two have passed -- one in Arkansas and one in Indiana.

Among the recently introduced anti-LGBT legislation is a pair of bills in Nevada that would allow individuals and businesses to use religion to challenge or opt out of laws, including laws that protect LGBT people from discrimination in employment, housing and public accommodations. Similar legislation was also recently introduced in Montana and is still pending in Arkansas, Georgia, Missouri, Texas and elsewhere.

Bills that would allow adoption agencies to use religion to discriminate against eligible parents and guardians have been newly introduced in Alabama and Florida. These new bills are similar to a series of bills moving through the Michigan legislature.

Even in states with long traditions of support for equality, anti-equality lawmakers are introducing anti-LGBT bills. Massachusetts, for example, is the latest state with a bill that would criminalize transgender people for using appropriate restrooms. Anti-transgender "bathroom surveillance" bills have are now pending in Florida, Texas and a handful of other states.

Collectively, this rising storm of anti-LGBT legislation underlines an increased effort to deprive LGBT Americans and other minority groups of basic protections. Across the country, HRC is joining state-based LGBT equality organizations and other allies to stanch the tide.

Learn more about the current landscape of anti-LGBT legislation here. (the website links to a .pdf file which is not linking correctly at DU.)




Note the 'state' of my state, Oklahoma!!!

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Response to B2G (Reply #51)

Wed May 13, 2015, 05:48 PM

66. Yes, that is exactly where the poster is saying.

Its a valid concern.

In Georgia, you can be evicted for being gay. If a gay couple is forced to wed publicly to retain benefits, they must become vulnerable to discrimination in other areas.

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Response to Hosnon (Reply #66)

Wed May 13, 2015, 07:38 PM

79. I would think the states that still allow discrimination

and the ones that don't have gay marriage to be more or less the same.

Once this legislation is in harmony, it will be equal and make sense.

They are not talking about doing it now.

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Response to Behind the Aegis (Reply #44)

Wed May 13, 2015, 04:35 PM

56. then should there be

a type of "means" test? Should cohabiting couples be required to attest to a certain level commitment - gay or straight for the purpose of insurance? I am having a hard time with this because I know of couples who preferred not to marry but did for the health benefits. Absent some proof of legal commitment, wouldn't a person who is gay then be able to give health coverage to someone with whom they are not in a committed relationship? That is not fair to hetero couples who cannot do the same.
I understand the unintended consequence of discrimination but the solution must be fair for all. You can be sure though that employers will require marriage for health coverage of partners if SC rules for marriage.
Maybe all unmarried couples should be able to insure their partners - married or not.


Of course the real solution - single payer.

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Response to KT2000 (Reply #56)

Wed May 13, 2015, 05:08 PM

61. I am really confused by your remarks.

I am not being flip, I really don't understand your post at all and that's how it reads to me. First, not all benefits from an employer are health related. Second, we aren't talking about heterosexuals losing their privileges, they just aren't put to the same tests as gays. Straight people aren't fired for being straight, nor lose their homes upon their sexual orientation being discovered as heterosexual. If a state protects GLBT people in all levels, then, yes, if gay couples want to continue getting benefits, they should marry if marriage equality is made universal law. However, there are a number of states, at varying levels, where gays are discriminated against in housing and employment (see the maps I provided in my other post), if SCOTUS makes marriage equal, fantastic, however, it won't alleviate other forms of discrimination against GLBT people and the option should remain for them to continue their benefits under the previous agreements.

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Response to Behind the Aegis (Reply #61)

Wed May 13, 2015, 05:37 PM

65. I am thinking of solutions

If SC rules in favor - you can be sure many employers will require marriage for benefits - insurance, family leave etc.
In light of persistent discrimination for being gay, a reasonable solution should be worked out to assure no discrimination occurs as a result - and making sure the solution is fair to both gay and heteros.
It will not fly if gay people are allowed to confer benefits to partners without marriage if marriage is legal, while heteros will not be allowed to do the same. Can you see the lawsuits that would result from that? Won't employers win such suits? I think so.

Our entire country is engaged in a discrimination free-for-all right now. Women can be fired for using birth control, unarmed black men are being killed, etc. How do we resolve the discrimination that could result from the legal right for gay people to marry in all 50 states?

I was thinking that a different standard for employer based benefits could be adopted - one that is the same for gay and hetero people. Maybe a person could just sign an affidavit that states they "swear or affirm" that the person listed is a partner they have made a commitment to. That would be between employee and employer and contained only in employee records.

If SC rules in favor - there will be new issues such as those you mentioned. What will be the solutions? I doubt a double standard will work.

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Response to KT2000 (Reply #65)

Wed May 13, 2015, 05:50 PM

67. The double standard has been in play for along time.

If the SC rules for equality, in some places, the double standard will still apply to GLBT people, but, once again, not to heteros. However, allowing gays to keep a previous agreement, in spite of marriage equality, is not a double standard, any more than a handicap parking space is a double standard held against able bodied people. In states where other forms of anti-GLBT discrimination aren't in play, then getting married for benefits for all is acceptable and equitable.

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Response to Behind the Aegis (Reply #67)

Wed May 13, 2015, 06:28 PM

69. we will have to see

if the courts see it that way. But do you really want to use as your basis for double standard the category of functional disability? I don't think so. (Accommodation of disabilities requires documentation from doctors and is on the public record) You would have to look at categories of discrimination - race, gender etc..

Previous agreements would only cover previous agreements. What happens to people who wish to cover their partners after the SC decision?
The problems that will arise, which you have mentioned, will need solutions.

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Response to KT2000 (Reply #69)

Wed May 13, 2015, 11:56 PM

83. The problem is short-sightedness and heterosexism laced with homophobia.

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Response to Behind the Aegis (Reply #83)

Thu May 14, 2015, 03:01 AM

84. my point is

there will be problems. There is no doubt about that. The discrimination is still there even if marriage becomes legal. There will be legal cases to figure it out. People will have to propose solutions. In the meantime, people will have to work their way through it in a way that is best for them.

We live in a country that has yet to agree to equal rights for women - there are still cases for that and it has been going on for a couple centuries now.

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Response to KT2000 (Reply #84)

Thu May 14, 2015, 03:16 AM

85. My point is things aren't made equal because of one law regarding marriage equality.

The discrimination against GLBT people is more than the issue of marriage, but many seem to be missing that very salient point.

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Response to former9thward (Original post)

Wed May 13, 2015, 04:43 PM

59. I've always thought that insurance coverage

 

Should give everyone an opportunity to make ANYONE their dependent if they pay the premiums. If you want to cover your neighbor, it's your business.

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Response to Politicalboi (Reply #59)

Wed May 13, 2015, 04:56 PM

60. Problem is that employment health coverage is subsidized.

Both by the employer (who typically pays for a large portion of it) and by the government (which doesn't tax it as income). Unmarried partner coverage isn't subject to the second subsidy, but it is subject to the first. Employers only want to offer the benefit if they think it really matters to their employees. The ability to cover family members does; the ability to cover just anyone probably doesn't.

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Response to Politicalboi (Reply #59)

Wed May 13, 2015, 06:34 PM

70. Why would an employer pay to cover your neighbor??

 

There is a cost to them that benefits their employees. Hence the term 'benefits'

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Response to former9thward (Original post)

Wed May 13, 2015, 05:32 PM

62. Isn't this less of an issue now that Obamacare is in place?

If the couple does not wish to marry, for any reason, the other person can get a policy on the exchange as a single person with a tax subsidy based on his or her income. This would be a much thornier issue pre-Obamacare.

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Response to Nye Bevan (Reply #62)

Wed May 13, 2015, 05:34 PM

63. Health benefits aren't the only benefits most places offer.

Also, there are other considerations, depending on the state and it's anti-GLBT laws, which can muck up the deal. See the jpeg I put in post #17.

ETA: Here's my post #17

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Response to Behind the Aegis (Reply #63)

Wed May 13, 2015, 07:21 PM

76. But they're facing the SAME risk right now if they apply for same-sex partner benefits. n/t

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Response to pnwmom (Reply #76)

Wed May 13, 2015, 09:42 PM

80. No, they are not.

It can be confusing, but if the other partner works for a different company, it could expose the other partner to job loss. E.G. My partner's company offers benefits to same-sex couples; mine does not. I am covered under his benefits too. The law changes, we are forced to marry to keep the benefits his company provides, in doing so, my employer discovers we are legally married and fires me...LEGALLY. Worse yet, our landlord reads the announcement and terminates our rental agreement, no notice.

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Response to Behind the Aegis (Reply #80)

Wed May 13, 2015, 10:04 PM

81. But when you use your insurance, you have to fill out forms listing secondary insurance,

which would include your partners policy on you.

So I'm still confused . . . are you saying your company doesn't care that you are part of a same sex couple but would fire you if you got legally married?

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Response to pnwmom (Reply #81)

Wed May 13, 2015, 11:55 PM

82. You can opt out of insurance, which is what many people do for the better insurance.

You obviously are not getting it. Read post #17.

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Response to Nye Bevan (Reply #62)

Wed May 13, 2015, 05:35 PM

64. You seem to imply Obamacare policies are free.

They are not and they have high deductibles. Any employer based plan would be far superior.

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Response to former9thward (Reply #64)

Wed May 13, 2015, 07:29 PM

77. Many companies don't contribute to family coverage

In my experience, most employers only contribute to the employees' premium.However, the employee can often get their spouse or children covered at their employers group rate.

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