Same Sex Couples Required To Marry If They Want Partners To Receive Health Insurance

In the wake of New York's gay marriage bill, large corporations such as Corning, I.B.M., and Raytheon —who previously offered domestic partnership benefits to employees with same-sex partners in states where gay marriage was illegal— are now requiring those same-sex couples to wed in order to receive those same shared benefits.

On the surface, this appears to put the couples on an even footing with heterosexual married couples. After all, this is precisely what they have been fighting for: being treated as a spouse. But some gay and lesbian advocates are arguing that the change may have come too soon: some couples may face complications, since their unions are not recognized by the federal government.

"Even with the complications, many people will want to get married for the reasons people want to get married," said Ross D. Levi, executive director of the Empire State Pride Agenda. "But from our perspective, to hinge something as important as insurance for your family to what is still a complicated legal matter for same-sex couples doesn't seem to be a fair thing to do."

The article goes on to say that there are "a variety of reasons - legal, financial and personal - that companies should keep the domestic partnership option at least until gay marriage was recognized at the federal level", such as:

Legally speaking, getting married could create immigration issues or it could potentially muddy the process of adopting a child. In some instances, he added, an employee may work in a gay marriage state but live in a neighboring state that does not recognize the marriage. The couple may want to wait to marry until they can be legally wed in their home state.

As much as the passage of gay marriage in New York is obviously a huge step in the right direction, situations like these are a good reminder that the larger battle is still waging.

As Same-Sex Marriage Becomes Legal, Some Choices May Be Lost [NYTimes]