The linked article is a really good read, and illustrates one of the many complicated issues that the current state of Marriage Equality creates. I personally fall on the side of requiring marriage for benefits as long as companies are cognizant of differences in State laws where they have offices and do business. Yet, this creates another level of unfair treatment of employees. Here’s why. Health benefits for a married spouse are not taxed, but the same benefit for a domestic partner is taxed. For an employee in a state that allows marriage this will be a good thing and same him or her a bit of money. But an employee who does the same job but who is in a state that doesn’t offer marriage equality, pays more in taxes.

The change may seem like good news to those who want to have same-sex couples treated the same as married heterosexual couples, but some of the same groups that fought to get their states to recognize same-sex marriages are raising concerns about the policy shift.

“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,” Ross D. Levi, executive director of the Empire State Pride Agenda, told The New York Times.

It was already unfair that a straight married couple paid less tax because of the way health benefits are handled than a same-sex couple, but because of DOMA, at least all same-sex couples were treated more similarly (depending upon what their employers offered to them). So, requiring couples to marry to receive health benefits is one step closer to equality, until all same-sex couples have that right, it is also one step towards more complications and unfair treatment based upon gender.  Until we look at the issue of Marriage Equality as a civil issue, and stop thinking of it as a religious/moral issue, we will continue to propagate unfairness and complexity for employers and employees.

via NY Companies to Gay Couples: Must Marry to Get Health Benefits, Christian News.

Photo by John-Morgan’s photostream

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