Gay Marriage and Health Benefits Problems and More

A friend who is a lobbyist in Annapolis for LGBT issues pointed out an article in NewsMax Finance. NewsMax Finance is a fairly conservative organization and their article was about Gay Marriage and some probable unintended negative consequences for both gay and straight couples of the Supreme Court ruling making gay marriage legal in all 50 states.

Lost Health Benefits?

Why would it be bad for health benefits. Gay spouses will now be able to visit in the hospital, and have access to benefits that were only available to straight couples before. However, up until now many large companies had health coverage for the domestic partners of unmarried workers. This was for both gay and straight.  Based on surveys of large companies, as many as one fifth of them may no longer cover coverage for unmarried domestic partners.

In the surveys, 93% covered health benefits for same sex partners but only 62% for opposite sex partners as well. This would indicate that 31% of the companies would be likely to drop health benefits for unmarried gay partners. In the survey, 22% of the companies responded that they would be likely to drop health benefits for unmarried partners, both gay and straight, if the Supreme Court came to the decision that they did.

That is for large nationwide companies, but what about smaller companies that are in a region or just a state? In certain areas of the country that are more conservative such as the South, some companies may decide not to offer health benefits at all to straight or gay just so they don’t have to provide benefits to gay couples. Sad but probably true.

International Work more Dangerous

In another offshoot of the Supreme Court decision, it could make working overseas much more dangerous. In countries with anti-gay policies, it will be much more difficult to obscure their status. It is illegal to engage in homosexual acts in 78 countries and that includes Singapore. Up until now some companies just listed gay partners as household staff so as not to bring attention to the relationship. With a marriage license in official records it will be more difficult in these countries. Also, processing health claims through local hospitals is going to be dicey.

US Still Has Issues to Resolve

There are 28 states in the US where you can fire someone over sexual orientation. In these states many people remain in the closet for fear of losing their jobs. Getting married would complicate remaining in the closet. Obviously, this court decision is a beginning, not an end.

Supreme Court Approves Gay Marriage

Who says the Supreme Court is not a political body. They proved it once again with the vote on gay marriage. Roberts was against it but some feel he was secretly glad that it was approved. His objections seemed to be more on technical legal grounds. Scalia is a different story. He was apoplectic and is probably convinced that this is the end of America. He also complained about an activist court. That is ballsy considering the number of activist decisions he has been involved in from deciding a Presidential race to considering a corporation to be a person and allowing unlimited money into political campaigns.

On the other hand, the usual swing vote, Justice Kennedy, wrote the majority opinion and compared the decision to allowing whites and blacks to marry. If Scalia had been a justice for that decision, we know where he would have come down on that one  as well.

Battle Isn’t Over

But, the battle isn’t over. In many states there are still no workplace protection for gays. It is still entirely possible that if they get married, they can be fired for being gay. That is allowed by the law in over half the states. Naturally the Catholic church was against this decision as well as conservative Christian groups and the Mormon church. One judge in rural Alabama decided that in order not to marry gays and at the same time to not go against the Supreme Court, he wasn’t going to issue any marriage certificates at all.

The decision made sense in that it didn’t force the decision down the throats of various religions and require them to perform religious ceremonies marrying gays. Each church/religion can make their own choice about how they want to handle gay marriage. But gays can no longer be denied marriage and can get married in a civil ceremony or in a denomination that allows it.

Gay and lesbian couples will get marital rights now in all states, although straightening out the paperwork might take a little while. One area where there might be problems is with parental rights. States have no problem with biological parents but in a lesbian couple, only one is the biological parent and for gay couples most likely neither is the biological father although it is possible one could be. In Utah, there is a legal case where the state has been sued to have both lesbian parents names on the birth certificate.