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USA: Domestic Partnership Benefits and Obligations Act Introduced

Sunday, October 6th, 2013

US CongressA bill that would provide benefits to partners of gay and lesbian federal employees, regardless of marital status, has been introduced in the US legislature.

GayWebSource.com reports:

While the Supreme Court’s decision striking down Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act and guidance from the Office of Personnel Management have made clear that federal workers’ same-sex spouses are now eligible for benefits, there are still federal employees who cannot access marriage and thus continue to be denied critical health, retirement and other benefits for their families. In an effort to remedy that continued inequality, today the Domestic Partnership Benefits and Obligations Act (DPBO) of 2013 was introduced in the U.S. House and Senate. The bill, sponsored in the Senate by Sens. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) and Susan Collins (R-ME) and in the House by Reps. Mark Pocan (D-WI), Gerry Connolly (D-VA), Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) and Richard Hanna (R-NY) would provide benefits for same-sex domestic partners of federal civilian employees on the same basis as spousal benefits. These benefits would include participation in applicable retirement programs, life and health insurance benefits, and family and medical leave.

What do you think? While definitely an improvement in the short run for these couples, is this a good or bad thing in terms of long-term strategy for full marriage equality?

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Florida, USA: Proposed Bill Would Strip LGBT Protections In Cities Across the State

Wednesday, April 17th, 2013

Florida From SpaceThe Florida legislature is mounting a sneak attack against LGBT writes bills all across Florida. Our friend, Melanie Nathan, at Gay USA reports:

A dangerous bill racing through the Florida legislature would overturn several of Florida’s strongest local LGBT rights policies and would block future policies statewide. SB 726 by Senator Simmons is a way to eliminate requirements on what kind of benefits businesses must offer their employees. The bill has already passed the House of Representatives and a Senate companion bill is also close to passage. Senator Simmons’ bill prohibits local governments from requiring companies that they do business with to have family leave for domestic partners and would invalidate policies that already exist. The House version of the bill, HB 655 by Representative Precourt, would eliminate equal benefits ordinances (EBO). EBOs require that companies, who contract with a particular city or county, provide the same benefits to domestic partners that they do to married spouses. In other words, if health insurance is available to spouses, it would need to be available to domestic partners. If no benefits are available to spouses, they would not be required to be available for domestic partners.

The bill, if it passes could eliminate years of progress made at the local level across the state of Florida.

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Wyoming, USA: After Rejecting Marriage Equality, Legislature Rejects Domestic Partnerships Too

Thursday, January 31st, 2013

WyomingAccording to Joe.my.God, the Wyoming House has now rejected the proposed domestic ppartners bill:

The House voted 35-to-24 against the bill. It marked the first time that pro-gay legislation reached a full floor debate in the state Legislature. Proponents of the bill said that it would grant same-sex couples as well as other citizens a way to share their property and make health care decisions for each other. Opponents warned that the bill threatened to open the state to legal action seeking to force it to approve same-sex marriage.

This comes just days after a House committee killed the marriage equality bill but advanced this one.

USA: Time Warner to Pay Tax on Benefits for Married Gay/Lesbian Employees

Friday, August 24th, 2012

Time Warner to Pay Tax on Benefits for Married Gay/Lesbian EmployeesMedia giant Time Warner will begin absorbing the extra tax gay workers in domestic partnerships, civil unions or marriages pay for spousal health benefits.

Unlike heterosexual employees, employer-provided health benefits offered to the partners of gay workers are counted as taxable income by the IRS (unless the partner is considered a dependent), because their unions are not recognized by federal agencies. Blocking the IRS from recognizing gay unions is the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), the 1996 law that defines marriage as a heterosexual union.

The Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation’s largest gay rights advocate, announced the change in a blog post.

Authored By Carlos Santoscoy – See the Full Story at On Top Magazine

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Switzerland: Domestic Partners Forbidden to Adopt Under Law

Monday, January 2nd, 2012

More than 10,000 people have tied the partnership knot in Switzerland since a new law made civil partnerships possible for homosexual couples five years ago.

The trip to the register office has been a life-changing event for many, giving official recognition to their union and securing rights that married heterosexual couples take for granted.

The entitlements relate to important areas such as pensions, inheritance, residency for foreign partners and next-of-kin status, but when it comes to children, homosexual couples are treated differently. Adoption and assisted reproduction are still off the agenda for them.

Full Story from Swiss Info

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FL: Palm Beach Schools May Offer Domestic Partner Leave

Wednesday, December 14th, 2011

West Palm Beach Domestic Partner LeaveThe Palm Beach County School Board recently voted to implement a policy granting family and medical leave to school district employees who have registered domestic partners. Pending final approval, the policy will grant the same benefits as those guaranteed by the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), which does not recognize families based on domestic partnerships, civil unions or same-sex marriages.

“FMLA is clearly discriminatory,” said Rand Hoch, president of the Palm Beach County Human Rights Council, which requested the policy. “Despite America’s growing acceptance of marriage equality, domestic partnerships and civil unions, Congress is slow to enact laws recognizing that gay men and lesbians form families,” Hoch said. The council has promoted domestic partnership rights since 1992, when the City of West Palm Beach became Florida’s first public employer to provide basic domestic partnership benefits.

Full Story from hr.blr.com

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US: Bill Reintroduced to Provide Domestic Partner Benefits to Federal Employees

Friday, November 18th, 2011

US Domestic Partner BenefitsToday, Sens. Joe Lieberman (I-CT) and Susan Collins (R-ME) introduced the Domestic Partnership Benefits and Obligations Act of 2011, a bill that would provide Federal benefits to same sex domestic partners of Federal employees.

Under the measure, same-sex domestic partners of federal employees living together in a committed relationship “would be eligible for health benefits, long-term care, Family and Medical Leave, and federal retirement benefits, among others.”

The Act would help the more than 30,000 employees with same-sex partners, allow the Federal government to compete with the many private companies that already offer benefits, and increase costs by “only 0.4 percent of total health care expenditures, a tiny fraction that is consistent with the experience of thousands of private employers,” one study found.

Full Story from Think Progress

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TX: El Paso Ban on Domestic Partner Benefits Upheld By Judge

Wednesday, May 25th, 2011

Tom BrownIn November 2010, El Paso’s Pastor Tom Brown organized a ballot referendum banning the city from offering domestic partners benefits. Only after the measure passed did the city realize that it was so broadly written, it would also ban benefits for retired cops and firefighters. Nevertheless, yesterday a federal judge upheld the ban.

The ordinance forcing the city of El Paso to “uphold traditional family values” will stand, and elected officials, retirees, affiliated service contractors, domestic partners of employees and certain dependent children will be left out, ruled a federal judge.

“This is an example of how direct democracy can have unexpected consequences,” wrote Federal Judge Frank Montalvo quoting James Madison. The plaintiffs who filed the lawsuit included city employees, domestic partners of city employees, retirees and even elected officials.

Full Story from Joe.My.God

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WI: Governor Walker Wants to Stop Defending Domestic Partner Law

Tuesday, May 17th, 2011

Gov. Scott Walker believes a new law that gives gay couples hospital visitation rights violates the state constitution and has asked a judge to allow the state to stop defending it.

Democrats who controlled the Legislature in 2009 changed the law so that same-sex couples could sign up for domestic partnership registries with county clerks to secure some – but not all – of the rights afforded married couples.

Wisconsin Family Action sued last year in Dane County circuit court, arguing that the registries violated a 2006 amendment to the state constitution that bans gay marriage and any arrangement that is substantially similar.

Full Story from JSOnline

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FL: Orange County May Extend Benefits to Partners, Children of Gay Employees

Sunday, April 17th, 2011

Florida Gay Domestic Partner BenefitsOrange County leaders are poised Tuesday to extend benefits to the domestic partners and children of gay employees, a move that would mark another significant victory for local rights activists.

Five months ago, Orange leaders passed a human-rights ordinance that extended discrimination protections in local businesses and workplaces to gays, lesbians and transgender residents.

On Tuesday, commissioners are expected to approve a change to personnel policies that would give the families of gay workers the same life, health, dental, bereavement and other benefits that heterosexual employees receive.

Full Story from The Orlando Sentinel

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