Monday, July 11, 2011

Changes in benefits in NY?

Companies that currently offer DP benefits may now expect their employees to marry. If the state has an interest in promoting marriage (gay or straight), then I have no problem with expecting the same thing from gay and straight couples. Equality means no secret trap door to a second-class gay-only status. Whether you are DP'd or married, you are still disadvantaged financially as a same sex couple, so most of that should not be any worse. So.... what would justify keeping a DP category? There are a few reasons.

From the NY Times:
On the surface, this appears to put the couples on an even footing with heterosexual married couples. After all, this is precisely what they have been fighting for: being treated as a spouse. But some gay and lesbian advocates are arguing that the change may have come too soon: some couples may face complications, since their unions are not recognized by the federal government.

Even with the complications, many people will want to get married for the reasons people want to get married,” said Ross D. Levi, executive director of the Empire State Pride Agenda. “But from our perspective, to hinge something as important as insurance for your family to what is still a complicated legal matter for same-sex couples doesn’t seem to be a fair thing to do.”

He said that there were a variety of reasons — legal, financial and personal — that companies should keep the domestic partnership option at least until gay marriage was recognized at the federal level. Legally speaking, getting married could create immigration issues or it could potentially muddy the process of adopting a child. In some instances, he added, an employee may work in a gay marriage state but live in a neighboring state that does not recognize the marriage. The couple may want to wait to marry until they can be legally wed in their home state.
Still, in the fullness of time, post-DOMA, I expect equality. And that means gay couples will have exactly the same choices, with the same rights AND responsibilities, as straights.

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