Monday, May 17, 2004

But will you buy the cow if you can get the milk for free?

I was well beyond farklempt as I drove home listening to Robert Siegel's coverage of some gay couples' marriages in Massachusetts today. Tears ran down my cheeks as I heard stories of couples who could finally legally recognize their life-long partnerships and have all of the legal, financial, and social benefits that come with marriage.

But where does that leave domestic partnership (well, other than a potential compromise agreement, or for those who live in the 49 other states)? For some in Massachusetts, gay and straight, who have been dependent on partnership benefits for years, they might now be out of luck as some insurance providers are no longer going to provide domestic partnership benefits. After all, there is now no reason why they can't get married. If you really needed those benefits, wouldn't you make that trip to the courthouse and make an honest man or woman out of your partner? In a world where anyone can marry regardless of sexual orientation, is there still a need for domestic partnership?

I can see why there could be a difference. One could establish financial interdependence without wanting to make a life-long committment. Some object to the misogynist history of marriage where women were considered property, others have issue with the religious connotation. Others just don't want to tie themselves down till death do us part, or don't want the bother or expense. Should these people get insurance benefits? Legal benefits? Tax benefits? Next-of-kin status?

Okay. That's it; no clever (or not so clever) closing.


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