Thursday, June 18, 2015

The Elimination of Domestic Partnership Benefits & Why This Isn't a Bad Thing (IMHO)

I was listening to the latest "At the End of the Day Podcast" earlier this week. The two Christian hosts bring on different people within the LGBT communities (and allies) to discuss the intersection of LGBT issues and Christianity. Each guest comes from a different perspective -- gay Christian, bi Christian, former ex-gay, etc.

This week's interview was with Linsdey and Sarah, a celibate lesbian couple who also blog here. Here is the description:
We talk with Lindsey and Sarah, a celibate, LGBT, Christian couple. They blog together at AQueerCalling.com. We chat about celibacy, vocation, misconceptions, and what’s wrong and right about the LGBT / Christian conversation.
I have no problem with how Lindsy and Sarah live their lives. I've interacted with them online before and they've always been very nice.

Here is my only issue with their interview. They discussed a growing trend where companies are cutting people off from their domestic partnership benefits and telling them to get married. They have a problem with this, because they disagree with gay marriage from a religious perspective. They also have a problem with getting legally married, because of their religion.

But they live together, essentially as a married couple. They have gone through the steps to become domestic partners and take advantage of joint medical insurance for that purpose.

Domestic partnership benefits were originally set up to serve a need. Same-sex couples were forbidden from marrying, but businesses and local governments recognized that our families were being denied equal access when compared to our opposite-sex neighbors and co-workers. DP benefits were set up to meet a denied need.

And -- to be clear -- it was not an equal alternative. Husband Mark and I were domestic partners for a long time and he received health insurance for a time from my employer. And we were taxed every year on the value of that health insurance in a way that my married peers were not.

Now that gay and lesbian couples can marry, I have no problem with wrapping up domestic partnerships. That unequal disparity between our families will no long exist.

Lindsey and Sarah are concerned that they will lose something if their DP benefits go away. I am reminding them that they will have another better option once their DP benefits go away.

This does not mean that they need to make their wedding anything more than a basic go-fill-out-the-paperwork-and-see-the-judge moment. It does not mean that they will have to have sex with each other. It does not mean that they will have to go through the rites of marriage at their church.

It just means that they will not lose their family health insurance if their employer discontinues DP benefits.

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