Until recently, same-sex couples could not legally marry. Now, some are finding they must wed if they want to keep their partner’s job-based health insurance and other benefits.
With same-sex marriage now legal in 35 states and the District of Columbia, some employers that formerly covered domestic partners say they will require marriage licenses for workers who want those perks.
Now the “advocacy” people wake up:
Requiring marriage licenses is “a little bossy” and feels like “it’s not a voluntary choice at that point,” said Jennifer Pizer, senior counsel at Lambda Legal, an organization advocating for gay, lesbian and transgender people.
The LGBT leadership had a choice: it could have advocated for the abolition of civil marriage or the extension of the franchise. They opted for the latter. Now they feel the downside of their decision, including marriage penalties in the tax code and loss of some government benefits with marriage (especially if they make it to old age, an issue opposite-sex couples deal with extensively).
Another downside, of course, is that some people’s “domestic partners” are in fact relatives who are dependent on them for many things. This exclusion is written into many domestic partner benefit programs to mimic the consanguinity prohibitions of marriage, which are absurd to either domestic partner programs or same-sex civil marriage. That’s why, for example, I opposed Chattanooga’s domestic partner benefit ordinance, which was overturned in referendum.
But that’s what happens when you start bawling for “freedom to marry” and end up with more restrictions and red tape than you started with.