I don't understand why this was the step taken instead of just directly addressing the repeal of DOMA and of Don't Ask Don't Tell. I would have rather seen a stop loss action on don't ask don't tell than what was done.
I'm glad to see anyone get better access to benefits, but by making this a domestic partner thing it seems like it just muddies the water even more. What about opposite sex domestic partners? If gay domestic partners can now access these limited benefits will employees with opposite sex domestic partners get the same treatment? I'm thinking no.
I think it's confusing. This came up at a big insurance company I worked for and it came down to something like, "If you're not gay you have to get married to get this, but if you are gay you don't because the state won't allow you to get married."
It seems like the easier way would be to just allow gays to get married, or, if not that, then drop special benefits for married people altogether.
I just think it's messy, how Obama chose to handle it. What do you think? Do you think the step taken yesterday was helpful or just added more confusion and irritation on all sides?
I see your point, and agree it can seem messy; but I'm fine with it.
Not that I'm comparing gay people with disabled people by any means, but as an example: Someone without a mental disability can live in an apartment under the rule of having no pets. Someone with a mental disability can actually get an "exception" made, based on the idea that a pet is therapeutic for the person. Someone may say, "Let everyone have pets," because it isn't messy. As it is, a small percentage of apartment renters get to have a pet (if they even want one), which means that a building of a hundred residents may have one indoor cat in one apartment (as opposed to 40 dogs and 35 cats).
I see the gay-benefits thing as similar. There's the rule about married people getting benefits. It's how it's always been (for the most part). If gay people are not allowed to marry in most states it makes sense they should get be able to get benefits if they're in a long-term relationship. It would make a bigger mess and do more damage to "inflict 40 dogs and 35 cats" on the residents and owner of a no-pets building than to just give a break to a minority who need that break. Things stay mostly the same and "un-mucked-up", while the minority is not expected to suffer as a result of laws that don't give them the choice to marry. In other words, I think if the laws are set up to exclude a minority from something some adjustment should be made.
Heterosexual people have the choice to marry and go for all the benefits if they want to. If they choose not to it's usually because they don't want to get in "all that deep".
For people who don't want the Federal government to have the power to decide what the states will do as far as gay marriage goes, this seems to me to be the only real choice. Penalizing people who opts for the traditional of thing of marriage (in this time when it's as challenged as it is anyway) would seem to me to be undesirable and maybe very damaging. Giving benefits to all the heterosexual "live-togethers" would be unrealistic and could probably put insurance companies out of business. It seems to me that it's an attempt at "least disruptive fairness" in view of the fact that a practical line has to be drawn somewhere. Taking away the power of the states to have their own policy on gay marriage would be a "more disruptive" thing to do.
I see your point, but I'm not sure it would really penalize married people if the standard was changed to reflect a domestic partnership arrangement rather than a marital one. Right now, some people actually pay more taxes when they get married than if they don't. Older people sometimes get less social security if they marry than if they don't. It seems to me that society kind of contorts itself to favor married people but it doesn't even work out that well for the married people.
You could make 'domestic partnership' a legal contract and people could still marry in a religious or civil service in addition if they wanted to do that. Nothing would stop that, but it would get government out of the marriage contract and make it fair for everyone.
That way, if gay or straight partners didn't want to commit they'd forgo the domestic partner thing. It could be a renewable contract separate from marriage.
I think backing into gay rights the way Obama is doing it is going to make it all worse. I just have that sense about it.
The UK has had legalised civil partnerships for some while, and that's all well and good. The problems arise when you get a situation where there is a 'domestic arrangement' that is neither homosexual nor heterosexual, but is in fact to do with habit and circumstance. A while ago there was a story in the UK press about two elderly spinsters who had shared almost their entire adult lives together, living in a house which belonged to only one of them. When that particular lady died without a will, the other was kicked out by the first lady's family. Had they been in a civil partnership her rights would have been protected, but in the event, her position was no different than any other 'lodger'.
I don't follow. Why did the home owner bequeath the home to her lifelong friend? What control did the children have?
The lady had no children. She was a spinster. She didn't bequeath the house to her life-long companion although she probably intended to. The family in question were nephews and nieces I believe. In the UK, if there is no will, there is a strict order of inheritance. A civil partner or marital partner heads that list, followed by children. Where there are neither, things get more complicated.
Sh*t, Amanda, that's sad. And cruel. Heard it before with heterosexual couples living together that couldn't or wouldn't marry for one reason or the other, and after years and years, one dies and the other is left out in the cold. Dang, I shudder to think.
I might have missed something because I didn't read the whole thing about what he said but from what I was watching...
I wonder why it's only for federal employees? Is Obama giving special benefits to "federal" employees? Not only is it pretty discriminatory pretty much calling out federal employees better than the rest (not that federal employees don't get better benefits already) but sounds like just another way to get his flock in the pen.
Though I am not sure, I think that hetero couples living together after a few years or something like that get can file a "common law" marriage. Like I said though, I could be way off in understanding a common law marriage.
Amanda, that is such a good point. I mean, it shows how the issue kind of radiates out from what we seem to think it is on the surface. That's exactly what I was getting at--it seems more complicated than, oh OK, have this and that you gay people, and now be quiet for awhile will ya? It's deeper than that.
@Sandra--He was only talking about federal employees because that's all he can do. The government can change things for its own employees but not for everyone--you'd need a new law to change it for everyone. It's funny though that you mention that because I turned right away to Bill last night and said "Hey can we get some of these federal employee benefits?" even though neither of us works for the government.
Hey you never know if you don't ask. LOL!
Of course messy Pam, the farther the messier. We did expect things to get messy, didn't we?
New Zealand has two recognised contracts by Law
Marriage (tween Heterosexuals) and
Civil Union Law ( which can be homosexuals or not) the latter was passed in the 90's ,so far seems to give everyone a measure of justice and at least recognition when it comes to property ,estates etc.
You know those prepaid phone cards? How about prepaid marriage card? You use up your time, you either go get a new one or go your own way.
Hey, I think I've got a new business model here!
Sorry, but it has to be said.
I can't wait to hear the first argument when one partner says to the other "Can you hear me now?"
I can resist everything but temptation. I'll go away now.
Say hello to the wave of future! I know my dad would dig it. Beats paying for a wedding he would be paying for long after the divorce. LOL.
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