Thursday, August 21, 2008

Marriage Rights

So, I'm on the phone with my mother and I mention that Cheryl needs to pick up one of her prescriptions that costs $50.00. My mom says why does it cost so much and I explain that Cheryl's insurance doesn't cover this particular drug at which point my mother says, "Why isn't she on your insurance?" This I find humorous because my mother wrongly assumes since I make more money and work for a larger company that I have better insurance, which is not the case.

So, I explain to my mom that my company doesn't offer domestic partner benefits -- and she asks me why not -- and even if it did, we wouldn't use them. Which leads me to the reason for this column.

My mom goes back and forth on gay marriage. On one hand, she doesn't understand why gay people would want to get married. Afterall, if straight people can't get marriage right (i.e., the 50% divorce rate), what makes gay people think they can? Then, she thinks that there isn't any benefit to gay marriage. In her mind, if Cheryl and I separate, everything's much easier because one of us can just move out. But, it isn't easier and thanks to that stupid amendment, a court wouldn't hear our case against one another.

It is with my mother in mind that I write this column.

  • Domestic Partner Benefits: These are a wonderful idea. It is a way for one gay person to cover their spouse. And, actually, this covers unmarried straight people, as well, which I don't agree it should. If you want these rights, get married and get them. But, gay or straight, the same problem remains: The Federal Government taxes the benefit as income. So, if your employer pays $100 a month for your partner's healthcare, that's added into your salary for the government to tax. When you think about it, this is really crazy because if you cover your uninsured partner this way, it means the government isn't doing it.
  • Social Security: My social security benefits will be higher than Cheryl's and she will never be able to claim them. Ever. On the marriage side of this, if a man marries four women, stays married to each one of them for 11 years, all four women are entitled to one half of his social security. And this NEVER reduces his payout. Does that seem fair and just?
  • Health Issues: If Cheryl goes into the hospital and is unable to make decisions for herself, I do not have an automatic legal right to make decisions for her. I do have a Power of Attorney of Health, which is only valid in Wisconsin. If we're on vacation in another state, there's no guarantee that a hospital in another state would honor it. This doesn’t happen to a married couple.

These are just three main reasons why gay people want the right to marry. There are hundreds more and I'm sure I'll write about them from time to time.

God Bless

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Blogger Zeta Thompson said...

Actually it is up to the insurance company as to whether unmarried people of opposite sex can be covered under domestic partner. Most choose not to cover it.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008 12:59:00 AM  
Blogger Julie said...

Maybe if you purchase the insurance on your own, but I'm referring to company paid for domestic partner benefits. The government taxes the amount your employer pays toward the insurance, which means that even though more and more companies are offering the benefit, not many people are actually using it.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008 3:43:00 PM  
Blogger Zeta Thompson said...

The cimpany I worked for did not allow unmarried partners of the opposite sex to benefit from the partner insurance laws when they were passed. As a matter of fact they did not want people admitting publically that they were living together without being married. Yes, legally by the ruling of the government any unmarried partners were eligible. It was still up to the company (perhaps it was the insurance agency, but then again the company owned the agency) how the benefits would be offered. THeir decision was they should be offered to partners of the same sex only as those of the opposite had the option of marriage.

Friday, August 29, 2008 1:40:00 AM  
Blogger Julie said...

Okay, but I'm not actually referring to a company that doesn't allow the benefits. I'm referring to what happens when your company does have the benefits. The government taxes them. And, if gays were able to get married, game over. The government wouldn't be able to tax the benefits, as they don't tax the benefits of straight married couples.

Friday, August 29, 2008 2:58:00 PM  

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