Saturday, July 9, 2011

As Same-Sex Marriage Becomes Legal, Some Choices May Be Lost

Michael Falco for The New York Times
Ross Levi of Empire State Pride Agenda said some companies were making changes too quickly.

Companies That Make Gay Couples Marry to Get Benefits

Should companies require gay employees to marry if they want health coverage for their same-sex partners. . . . .
Corning, I.B.M. and Raytheon all provide domestic partner benefits to employees with same-sex partners in states where they cannot marry. But now that they can legally wed in New York, five other states and the District of Columbia, they will be required to do so if they want their partner to be covered for a routine checkup or a root canal.
read more. . . .


JustinO'Shea said...

Where are the freedoms in this sitz???
Can a Civ.Unionized Couple be forced to marry to continue to receive the medical benefits they are already receiving???

J. . ..where are you, when we need you? LOL. Your 'vacation' is over, sir. Your legal sagacity is needed here, now. . .please?


Richard said...

This is a classic case of "be careful what you ask for; you might get it."

Of course employers can say that we will cover only legally wed spouses where marriage is an option.

Whether they should is another question.

JustinO'Shea said...

In States with both Marriage and Civil Unions does an employer have an option? Both are acceptable and accepted status.

Richard said...

In some states employers only covered civil unions because marriage was not available to same-sex couples. Now that it is (e.g. NY), they may review their policies. Or they may not.

The question on the floor is whethey they can and the answer to that is yes.

JustinO'Shea said...

OK, Richard, so employers can decide to take away a right already given/in effect. Hmmmm

Let's take a live example. Vermont has had Civil Unions for almost 10 years now. It is "in effect". A couple years ago, or so, VT also voted in Marriage for same sex couples. It is "in effect".

Both are available to people. . a civil union and/or marriage. Both are rights 'given' by law.

Can an employer in Vermont decide on his/her own to nullify a law which is still in effect and require his employees to be married to receive healthcare benefits?

Just from reason I'd say he/she may not require that. The Legislature makes laws, signed by the Governor.
Private citizens may not nullify a law.

Where is J. . .? HELLO out there. . I need you! ;-))


Richard said...

Unless Vermont law requires an employer to offer health insurance in the first place to ANYONE, and I do not believe that it does, an employer can pretty much do what they want with respect to this issue. That's what the good Jesuits taught me at Georgetown Law.

Stew said...

Years ago, my uncle (living in Ohio at the time) had a common law marriage with his wife. His company gave benefits to both of them and theirs and her children from a previous engagement. When they moved to Michigan, the same company would only give health benefits to my uncle and his two kids. His wife and her other two kids were out because they were not married in Michigan. Same thing as being discussed here.

Laws governing each state must be adhered to. Company policy does not have to be the same in each state. Look at any company handbook and you will see the list of exemptions at the end for certain states on different topics.

The real question is when will the Federal government force states to honor marriages made in other states. What if any of our parents marriages were not valid when they crossed a state line on vacation?

JustinO'Shea said...

RICHARD, who is also a lawyer, clarified an important point for me earlier. . . .when I could not access my blog. . .

Employers are NOT obliged to provide health care benefits. . .and so they can refuse to give such benefits to one in a civil union. . .

That is my understanding at present.


Night ALL.. . been quite a day. .. hehee. .and I jest am all tuckered out. . . hehehe. . .see y'as all tomorrow around noon. . .LOL

AND COOPS. . hang in there, bro. . ."Some day your Prince will come. . .". . .keep your eyes and arms open. . . ;-)