Hi, I found your column on the
Boston Globe's plan to eliminate domestic partner benefits.
I think your argument is spelled out quite nicely. I'm a
Massachusetts resident in a legal same-gender marriage, and
I think there are a couple other points that are important
to mention, and that many (even very progressive) people
aren't aware of.
First of all, not every same-sex couple in Massachusetts is
eligible to become married in the state. There are quite a
few enlisted military members who could be discharged,
charged with treason, and forced to pay back school loans
and so forth if they were to legally marry a person of the
same sex. Couples who are pursuing international adoption
also can be in situations in which they would be penalized
for creating any legal proof of their sexual orientation.
Individuals who work for employers who are legally permitted
to discriminate against GLBT folks (some churches, some
hospitals, organizations like the Boy Scouts) could also be
fired for marrying. I think it's really important to make
sure that people know that not all of us can marry.
This seems to be one of the more logic-driven talking points
when discussing the issue with people who are not
homophobic, but still view domestic partner rights as
"special rights." To my knowledge, there are not any
situations in which legal marriage is denied to
It is also important to point out that while we can marry in
Massachusetts, our marriage is not federally recognized.
Some of the "special rights" we have include not being able
to get passports if we change our name when we marry, having
to spend money in probate court for a legal name change if
we work for a federal agency, having to file federal taxes
as a single person, having to pay a tax preparer twice as
much because our state and federal status are different,
having to declare healthcare and other benefits from our
employers as federal taxable income, and having to hire
lawyers to deal with situations that are automatic for
hetero couples. The cost of all these things adds up. The
domestic partner benefits we may receive do not come close
to balancing out the ways we are penalized by the IRS and
other agencies that don't recognize our marriage.
Pointing this out can often help people to see that there
are no "special rights" involved by giving us health
Keep up the fabulous columns!
bites the dust
read your article on the North Carolina
anti-cohabitation law and it got me thinking.
have been wondering about the foundation for bigamy
laws. I know numerous people who are in ‘triads’
where there are three people living together helping
make ends meet, raising children, etc. All the
prima-facie activities of a married couple, except
there are 3 of them. I do have some trouble trying
to understand the authority to pass laws making this
illegal. At least it is specifically illegal in
Utah, but I suspect in other states as well.
difficulty is understanding how it should be illegal
if the three wish to have an agreement intended to
last for a significant amount of time (ie a
marriage) vs roommates going to school. There seems
to be a discrepancy that I am unable to resolve
based upon the best interest of society (which is my
general rule of thumb for the source of governmental
authority). Granted, I am not an expert in law by
any means, but it does seem that in today’s society
where one’s sexual preference has protection that
such an arrangement between consenting adults should
not in itself be illegal. I would concur that if it
occurred under forcible circumstances, or via
deception or such, that it should be illegal. I
believe that such behavior would be considered
unlawful under other statutes in most cases.
possible, I would be very interested in your and
others’ opinions on whether such behavior should be
found reprehensible and punishable or if it should
be found protected as we see more alternatives to
the nuclear family ideas when our citizens exercise
their rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of
happiness in new ways.
August 7, 2006
Looking 'beyond marriage' for equal rights
I was reading an
article on your website from South Bend Tribute by
Ed Ronco and I highlighted the paragraph that was of
interest to me at the bottom of this email. I have a
since they are trying to "cross borders" and reach a
broader ideology, to which I agree is a good idea.
Having a very
conservative father I can tell you that the one
thing he hates is paying taxes and the second thing
he hates is the idea of Gay people getting married.
He probably hates taxes more though. It seems to me
that the only way for opposite sex domestic partners
to get ERISA benefits such as FLMA, Workers
Compensation, Social Security benefits, Cobra and
employee benefits like a HSA and flexible spending
is to get married. By getting married the IRS makes
more money on people that combined make more than
$100,000. Hmmm… that is interesting and something I
don't think most people know. Federal government
makes more money if people get married and by making
more money the status quo continues which is the
discrimination of those that choose not to get
married or those that don't fall within the legal
definition of "spouse".
I read in your web
page that the US census shows more people are not
getting married. I see this in my office and another
thing I see is that they don't care that they don't
have Federal benefits ( hmm, sounds like a study in
the making). If they don't care then why are
supporting this huge government to protect ERISA
rights and Social Security that are only protecting
the minority, according to the new census? Its seems
that the only reason to have ERISA is to
discriminate, i.e.. if you are not married but have
a partner you have no rights to FMLA leave. So why
are we supporting the salary out of our taxes for
all of these government employees to protect our
rights if the minority that are single or unmarried
people don't have access to those rights?
I think America has
to rethink a lot of things. I think we should focus
on our children and their children how are we
helping them and the financial legacy we are
leaving. If social security isn't going to be there
for them then why support that huge government
venture out of our pocket?
Again, I think that
beyondmarriage.com and your organization are great
but we need to reach the common people in Oklahoma
that really believe that the defense of marriage act
is just keeping gay people from getting married.
Sadly that is not the case, but human rights groups
have done nothing to educate at a basic level.
Single moms would have access to government
sponsored babysitter if we didn't waste so much
money supporting archaic government department that
take out 28% from her paycheck for many government
benefits that she is not entitled to anyway.
Wouldn't it be nice for her instead to be the
beneficiary of her dead parents social security
Where is the outrage?
I don't see any political organization defending the
minority. I don't see commercials I don't read about
it in any news organization, I never hear any
Democrat or Republican talk about it. All I ever
hear is how America needs to protect itself from the
Gay people that want to destroy marriage.
"Filing your tax
return jointly can save money, unless you're
combined income exceeds $100,000 a year, Renshaw
said. Then, you get bumped up into a new tax bracket
and, presto, it's not any cheaper than being
Silvia C. Morales
Anti-cohabitation laws are
I AGREE with your Internet
article and think it was well written and well done.
I imagine you must be an attorney.
I believe the legislatures of America should not even try to
proscribe what happens in the bedrooms of America.
Though I agree with the institution of marriage,
cohabitation has been so widespread in last several decades
attorneys have drawn up contracts as to who gets what in the
event of a cohabital split.
Lawrence v. Texas makes it obvious the Supreme Court is
staying out of the issue of morality. Yet, to me, odd as it
may be, prostitution is still proscribed except in a select
few places in Nevada.
Some Women's Harvard Law Reviews have been brilliantly
written about being FOR
of prostitution. They claim women sell everything else, why
I, personally, believe prostitution should be limitedly
permitted in certain sections of towns where it is well
lighted and patrolled, for the safety of patrons and the sex
workers (they don't like to be called prostitutes) medically
checked. I think it would be the lesser of two evils. I
believe the incident of rape is just too high in America.
Limited and controlled prostitution would have an effect on
the decline of rape I do believe though I doubt it would
ever be eradicated.
That's my opinion but, thus far, efforts to decriminalize
prostitution in America have fallen flat on their faces.
Unmarried America 2006
Thomas F. Coleman, Executive Director of Unmarried America, is an
attorney with 33 years of experience in singles' rights, family
diversity, domestic partner benefits, and marital status discrimination.
Each week he adds a new commentary to Column One: Eye on Unmarried
email@example.com. Unmarried America is a nonprofit
information service for unmarried employees, consumers, taxpayers, and