Equality for All – Well Worth the Price

Right-wing news site Republican American features a story called “Marriage, yes; benefits, no Ruling to cost state workers’ same-sex partners health coverage.” I suspect that the RA staff expects GLBT people to be upset about this news. No, we should be thrilled if we truly value equality under law.

Here is an excerpt:

Same-sex partners of state employees are losing pension and health benefits because gay marriage is now legal in Connecticut.

An arbitration award that established the benefits eight years ago was conditioned upon same-sex marriage remaining illegal here.

The state Supreme Court’s recent recognition of same-sex marriage means the state government no longer must provide this coverage to same-sex partners and their dependent children.

State Comptroller Nancy Wyman notified the heads of all state agencies on Friday that the benefits will cease Nov. 30, 2009, unless the partners marry or enter into a civil union.

… There was no immediate reaction from Love Makes A Family, a gay rights group that led the efforts to legalize same-sex marriages through the state courts and the legislature. Executive Director Anne Stanback didn’t return telephone calls seeking comment on Friday.

… It was unclear Friday how many same-sex partners and children stand to lose pension and health benefits.

I wonder if the reason there was little comment from pro-gay groups because they’re busy celebrating this further move toward real equality. GLBT people have no room for complaint here — unmarried couples regardless of orientation will be treated exactly the same under law. That is great news.

Seriously: Gays and lesbians have civil marriage in Connecticut, just as heterosexuals do. If unmarried heterosexuals cannot receive state employee pension and health  benefits, it would be unfair for GLBT workers to do so.  This phasing out of Jim Crow for queers is necessary and it’s a reason to cheer

Listen: No intelligent person will complain about receiving equal treatment. That’s all I want – equality. Separate-and-unequal designations such as partner benefits were only offered because gays couldn’t marry, and these kindnesses — and that’s what they were — are nothing more than the trappings of inequality. We should be happy to see them go in states forward enough to acknowledge the equality of GLBT citizens under law. If you work for the state and want your mate covered, you have a choice most queers don’t have: Get married or give up the perqs. Why should you have an advantage over your unmarried heterosexual coworkers?

As the system stands, hets don’t get bennies without getting married. If we want equality, we have to play by those rules. (And if you accepted partnership benefits without wanting marriage, shame on you for gaming the system.) It’s immoral for them to deny us a level field and it’s just as immoral for us to allow heterosexuals to be treated unequally. Equality is equality, and when we last checked, character still counts.

Let’s be happy for this step forward in Connecticut and for equality in Massachusetts. Then let’s get to workfighting California’s immoral Proposition 8 and having the equality we deserve recognized by the rest of the nation and the federal government.

Thanks to Connecticut for continuing to make their state a haven of equality for all.


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