EQUALITY FOR STRAIGHT AND GAY COUPLES. 4
Equalityfor Straight and Gay Couples
Companiesshould be required to provide Domestic Partner Benefits to Same-sexCouples if they provide them to Married Couples
Firstly,the domestic partner benefit program involves employers making a oneplan alteration that includes partners as eligible dependants of anybenefits. More jurisdictions in the country are beginning toappreciate the constitutionality of gay marriages. To comply withthese changes at state and national level, companies should do areassessment of their domestic partner benefits with respect to gaycouples.Currently,six states in the US have allowed same-sex couples to access marriagelicenses (Eblin, 2010). This was not the case in 2004. Moreover, twomore states allow same-sex couples from other states to live ascouples. These changes are real and employers should follow suit.They should do so by revising their traditional definition of spouseand domestic partner. In this regard, they should comply by changingthe requisites of their current plan documents for their employees.Employees should provide the same spousal domestic partner benefitsin the same way they did for partners of the opposite sex.
Thechanges should include fully-insured plans that are under stateregulation, and self-insured plans that are under federal regulation(Wellman & Wortley, 2012). Companies can do by adjusting thefollowing definitions in regard to spousal domestic partner benefits.Such changes are only applicable when companies make the followingadjustment on plan enrolment:
Same-sexmarriage should become a qualifying status for the benefits:acknowledgment of same-sex marriages will continue into theunforeseeable future until all states make amendments to that effect.The changes will create a qualifying status for same-sex spouses forother states. Considering that the Supreme Court sustained same-sexmarriages access to the same rights different-sex partners, companiesdonot have a choice, but commence making thesameadjustments. States are less likely to contradict any federallegislation that recognizes same-sex partners. In fact, consenting tosame-sex spouses to access domestic partner benefits will portray acompany as a progressive entity that accommodates the minority.
Taxingsame-sex marriage to contribute for coverage (Wellman & Wortley,2012): In many states today, employees married to same-sex partnersdo not qualify for domestic partner benefits. It is in the interestof a public for companies to respect all applicable state laws. Allfederal laws are applicable in the United States. Marriage laws aresupreme to any state marriage laws that seem to subtly contradictconstitutional provisions. While it is crucial to respect theindependence of states, it is also vital to incorporate the rights ofminorities in companies. Making this compliance is one way ofexecuting non-discriminatory laws for minorities. Same sex partnersare part of the LGBT group that needs affirmative action to be equalto the majority citizens who fall in straight partners group.
Mainstreamingdocumentation as they do for straight partners (Chambers, 2013):failing to use an inclusive language when referring same-sex partnersis as good as doing the same to racial minority groups such asAfrican-American, Hispanic, and Latino employees. The generic word of‘spouse’ should replace the word ‘husband’ or ‘wife’ onenrolment forms. It is inconceivable to have a company that specifiesthat only white couples should enroll for domestic partner benefits.The same connotation is applicable to same sex partners.
Chambers,D. L. (2013). What if? The legal consequences of marriage and thelegal needs of lesbian and gay male couples. MichiganLaw Review,447-491
Eblin,R. L. (2010). Domestic partnership recognition in the workplace:Equitable employee benefits for gay couples (and others). OhioSt. LJ,51,1067.
Wellman,B., & Wortley, S. (2012). Different strokes from different folks:Community ties and social support. Americanjournal of Sociology,558-588.