I hate to admit it but I have become a very impassive supporter of gay marriage and the health care system overhaul. Although these are issues that are very dear and important to me, I have become very apathetic, maybe because I have become too jaded after Proposition 8 passed in California. Or maybe because I just don’t think there’s an immediate need or a clear benefit for Dennis and I to get married. But I think I need to step it up and be more active in supporting these issues. More so now that I just learned that Dennis and I can be denied of a right.
Since we are registered domestic partners in the State of California, both of us are covered in my employer’s health care plan. Dennis runs his own small business and for all those who are not familiar with the current system, health care for small businesses is very expensive. And so we decided to get covered through my employer’s plan, which is a far better deal even if the Internal Revenue Service considers domestic partner benefits taxable income, in contrast to spousal benefits that are tax-free.
But if I were to lose or leave my job or, heaven forbid, die, Dennis cannot get health care coverage under COBRA, the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1995. COBRA is a federal law that requires companies with 20 or more employees to continue medical benefits to spouses and dependent children in the event of death, divorce, reduction in hours, termination of employment and change in dependent status. Same-sex domestic partners are NOT legally included in the COBRA entitlement. This is just outright discrimination. A heterosexual married couple can continue to have health care coverage through COBRA but Dennis and I cannot because we are a homosexual unmarried couple. This just makes me furious.
Marriage is not about religion. It is not about procreation. Marriage is about civil rights. Same-sex marriage is about the rights, happiness and equal treatment of millions of gay men and women. America has come a long way to embrace gay rights but there’s still a lot of work to be done. I think it will come eventually but I am hoping that it will come soon.