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Gay Marriage Affects Domestic-Partner Benefits
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{=TLA=}IronMug
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PostPosted: 16 Jul 2004 04:27:38 pm    Post subject: Gay Marriage Affects Domestic-Partner Benefits Reply with quote

http://diversity.monster.com/gale/articles/marriage/

Gay Marriage Affects Domestic-Partner Benefits
by Dan Woog
Monster Contributing Writer

The last notes of “Here Come the Brides” had barely faded when the financial fallout of Massachusetts's same-gender marriages hit.

Local 103 of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers informed its 6,000 members that its benefit plan defines “dependent spouse” as “a person of the opposite sex.” The result: Married spouses of gay/lesbian members are ineligible for health or pension benefits.

Meanwhile, Babson College and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, one of the state's largest employers, and announced they are dropping domestic-partner benefits for Massachusetts residents. On January 1, 2005, gays/lesbians (and many straight unmarried couples) must be married in order to keep their partners' health benefits. Other major Massachusetts employers -– including the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Massachusetts General Hospital, Fidelity, Gillette and EMC Corp. -– are maintaining all domestic-partner benefits.

When it comes to the tangible impact of marriage, are gays/lesbians winners or losers now that Massachusetts has legalized same-sex unions?

“Yes,” says Robert Webb, an attorney and expert in employee benefits at the Boston law firm of Nutter, McClennen and Fish, with a laugh. Some employers have reacted by tightening benefits restrictions; others have not. Many have adopted a wait-and-see attitude.
Reverberations Beyond Massachusetts

The movement to legalize gay marriage is not limited to Massachusetts. Marriage licenses have been issued to same-sex couples in California, Oregon, New Mexico, New York and New Jersey -- and contested in all those places. More than 200 Fortune 500 companies, including nearly three-quarters of the top 50, offer “spousal equivalent” benefits to the partners of gay/lesbian employees. Nearly all operate in the Bay State, and beyond. What happens to employees who work in Boston but live in New Hampshire? To those who work in Texas for a company headquartered in Massachusetts, or vice versa? And what about employees who receive marriage benefits in Massachusetts and are then transferred to Missouri?

No one knows. But according to 2000 census data, nearly 600,000 gay/lesbian couples live in the United States. Most will be affected by how their employers react, or fail to react, to gay marriage.

Webb says the driving force behind eliminating domestic-partner benefits will be cost, primarily that of health benefits. However, he notes another consideration: “Would eliminating domestic-partner benefits cause that company to stop attracting the types of employees [it] seeks?”
Employers React -- or Don't

According to Webb, most employers are doing one of three things. Some are “pulling in their horns, eliminating domestic-partner benefits altogether and insisting on the federal definition of marriage, which is between a man and a woman.” Others have opted to maintain benefits for up to 24 months while observing national trends. The third reaction is to continue domestic-partner benefits, in many cases offering them to straight unmarried couples as well as gays/lesbians.

The last “may be the largest group, especially among large companies,” Webb says. “They realize the incremental cost of domestic-partner benefits is small, and they get a lot of bang for their buck just by offering them.”

Bob Witeck, CEO of Witeck-Combs Communications in Washington, DC, advises corporations and foundations on gay business issues -- he sides with the third camp. “Taking away something people already have is a stupid, boneheaded move,” he says. “It will be perceived as an act of unfairness no matter how nicely it's phrased. Not everyone can get married right away, and even those who can might not feel completely safe doing so. As far as saving money, it's just not that much.”

In fact, Witeck is surprised mainstream organizations aren't clamoring for gay marriage everywhere. “Business wants simplicity,” he says. “The more complex something is, the less they like it. The Chamber of Commerce should be behind this all the way, for practical reasons. It would bring clarity everywhere. Without clarity, the cost of business goes up.”


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PostPosted: 16 Jul 2004 04:54:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Why the FUCK do people care if two members of the same gender get married? More than that, why would they restrict benefits of them? Oh, these two people love each other, let's treat them like sub-par members of the community. Good idea, assholes.



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{=TLA=}IronMug
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PostPosted: 16 Jul 2004 04:56:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

why did you move this?

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PostPosted: 16 Jul 2004 04:57:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Most debatable topics are moved to General Chat.



dude
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{=TLA=}IronMug
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PostPosted: 16 Jul 2004 05:08:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

all articles are debatable, that's whack

Sublimation
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PostPosted: 16 Jul 2004 05:14:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just give people their rights. Denying them is whack.

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PostPosted: 16 Jul 2004 06:14:26 pm    Post subject: Re: Gay Marriage Affects Domestic-Partner Benefits Reply with quote

{=TLA=}IronMug wrote:

When it comes to the tangible impact of marriage, are gays/lesbians winners or losers now that Massachusetts has legalized same-sex unions?

“Yes,” says Robert Webb, an attorney and expert in employee benefits at the Boston law firm of Nutter, McClennen and Fish, with a laugh


I doubt many of those affected are laughing.

Why bother quoting, in an opinion piece, some jerk-off who doesn't want to give one?

I'm with CK and Subby. It's not right. HOWEVER, the gay rights folks should have thought into the future a little and looked at some of the possible outcomes for the scenarios that are listed in this article BEFORE they took up this cause.

Too often political organizations from every side are too willing to let regular folks jump into the chasm just to see how deep it is. That isn't right, either.

Do you think Rosie O'Donnell gives a shit if some regular folks lost their much needed benefits over her "marriage"? Maybe, but will she be willing to help? I doubt it, it might cost her something in return.

The true problem here is that the government should not be using the word "marriage", much less sit around trying to define it. Provide legislation that calls for a "Union Certificate" for ALL couples to go get property/medical/life/parental benefits and be done with it.
CloakedKilla
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PostPosted: 16 Jul 2004 06:16:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's not only about the benefits, it's also about social equality.



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Raven-MOK
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PostPosted: 16 Jul 2004 06:31:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

CloakedKilla wrote:
It's not only about the benefits, it's also about social equality.


Oh, well in that case, pick another planet. Nobody has that here.
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PostPosted: 16 Jul 2004 06:34:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Raven-MOK wrote:
CloakedKilla wrote:
It's not only about the benefits, it's also about social equality.


Oh, well in that case, pick another planet. Nobody has that here.


Amen, Preach it Bro!


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PostPosted: 16 Jul 2004 06:41:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

{=TLA=}IronMug wrote:
all articles are debatable, that's whack


It is a reflection of what the community has clearly requested. I am a humble servant.


Johne (Phy) Cook | Overlord, Ray Gun Revival
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PostPosted: 16 Jul 2004 06:48:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Raven-MOK wrote:
Oh, well in that case, pick another planet. Nobody has that here.


So you're saying we shouldn't try? I suppose blacks shouldn't have fought for freedom when we were holding them as slaves? I realize that's a far stretch, but it's the same concept.




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Phy
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PostPosted: 16 Jul 2004 06:56:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm clearly and strongly opposed to Gay "marriage" because of the definition of marriage that I hold. I am just as strongly for homosexual civil unions. To me, the definition is important but not providing benefits is wrong.

Johne (Phy) Cook | Overlord, Ray Gun Revival
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PostPosted: 16 Jul 2004 07:05:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Phy wrote:
I'm clearly and strongly opposed to Gay "marriage" because of the definition of marriage that I hold. I am just as strongly for homosexual civil unions. To me, the definition is important but not providing benefits is wrong.


I get what you're coming from with that, but the concept of marriage now is so skewed from what you hold it as yourself that it's not funny anymore. Marriage is hardly a religious ceremony anymore as it is a legal title.




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Phy
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PostPosted: 16 Jul 2004 07:16:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

CloakedKilla wrote:
I get what you're coming from with that, but the concept of marriage now is so skewed from what you hold it as yourself that it's not funny anymore. Marriage is hardly a religious ceremony anymore as it is a legal title.


Seeing that I'm married and you're not, I find this comment to be highly amusing.

As a married man and a man of faith and a man of letters, I simply don't agree. Yes, there is a legal component to it, but that is not the primary reason *I* got married.

Again, I'm not against homosexuals getting the benefits of a union such as I enjoy, I'm simply opposed to them co-opting a term that doesn't apply to their situation just so that they *can* get the benefits of the union such as I enjoy. There needs to be new terminology, not the breaking down or the co-opting of existing terminology.

(I realize I'm probably pissing off die-hard members of both extremes. That's really too bad. As a married man of faith, I'm entitled to an opinion on this. My solution addresses the primary concerns of both camps; equality without tarnishing a venerable institution.)


Johne (Phy) Cook | Overlord, Ray Gun Revival
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