Pennsylvania’s Unmarried Gay Court Staffers Get Shared Benefits. Unmarried Straight Staffers? Nope!

While the federal court system still refuses to deny shared benefits to the same-sex partners of employees — as Karen Golinski can tell you all about — Pennsylvania’s court system just declared last week that gay couples are entitled to all the shared pharmaceutical fun and eye exams they can get their hands on. And the decision comes at the request of the state’s Supreme Court. But one warning:

Shared benefits for unmarried couples will only be offered to The Gays, and not to unwed heteros. Sorry, breeders: You’ve got the right to marry, so use it.

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  • PADude

    I’ve been torn on this one. On the one hand, on its face it’s unfair and both should be treated equally.

    On the other hand, the straight partners CAN get married. The fact that they haven’t done so indicates that they don’t want to.

    At the moment, I’m leaning moderately toward the unfair determination. I don’t (theoretically) want any right the other side doesn’t have as well. But I sure don’t lean far enough to fight for it…at such a time as I can marry my partner and share all benefits, maybe.

  • ChrisM

    This is stupid, and Queerty is very immature for boasting about this “win” and calling the straight people who are actually being discriminated against here breeders.

    We want equal treatment – not special treatment meant to appease us. Stop and think about the reason that gays are getting these benefits – because we can’t get married, and our country would rather give us these extra, consolation benefits than recognize our relationships as equal to their straight ones. This is in no way a good thing – those who cry about the “gay agenda” will point to this as the homosexual “political power” ProtectMarriage’s lawyer was trying to pull out of thin air, and they are likely to convince others. All while we are STILL second class citizens!

    Very upset with this article. I hope nobody else on this blog is blinded enough by this preferential treatment to forget we are looking for EQUALITY.

  • Jaroslaw

    #2 I agree it is not good to call hets “breeders” but what is wrong with this? I agree with the PA court decision as long as the law discriminates between who can marry and who cannot.

  • ChrisM

    What’s wrong is that there should be no stepping stones from inequality to equality. Tipping the scales in the other direction in this one instance doesn’t solve the problem or create any good – let’s just get them even.

  • Jaroslaw

    #4 please re-read what you posted. You’re saying you don’t want any right the “other side” doesn’t have. You don’t. You don’t get benefits for just anyone, you get them for your life-partner, significant other etc. Normally, these benefits are given to married couples. As you state, the hets choose not to get married. They have an option you don’t, so you’re not at any advantage over them.

    Stepping stones to equality? Wow, I agree with you in theory, but it is not borne out by experience. NO group that I can think of (historically) has gotten everything they wanted in one fell swoop, i.e. the first try at bat. Let me know if you can think of anyone who did.

  • ChrisM

    Jaroslaw, it’s funny that you use choice as a reason not to give heterosexuals these benefits. Some bigoted people are using the same argument against us – we choose not to get married to the opposite sex because we are supposedly some kind of perverts. Of course this is untrue, and so are your accusations. Who is to say that every one of the gay couples receiving benefits would get married if they had the opportunity? If they would not, why give them the benefits that the straight, unmarried couples are not getting? This is generating new inequalities, not working in the right direction to alleviate the previous ones.

    And what I meant by that stepping stones to equality comment was that we should not fight inequality with more inequality. While we need to make little steps, those are not the kind of little steps that we need. As I said, we should work on evening out the scales, not weighing down the other side. Getting extra benefits can only do two things – 1. Infuriate opponents to our rights, and give them a weapon to use to turn the public against us (this shouldn’t matter, but as you know it has mattered very much recently) and 2. Convince our allies that things are ok now, when in reality we still aren’t treated as equals by this policy. Neither of these are good consequences.

    I also agree with the way you initially interpreted it, and agree that it is impractical to hope for instant justice.

  • Jaroslaw

    Ok Chrism – let’s start with your first sentence “choice?” Actually I used the word option but I get what you mean but there is a nuance there which you’re overlooking. Some conservatives probably still feel interractial marriage is “unnatural” So you’ll never convince everyone – I follow this issue pretty closely and I haven’t heard too much about “we can choose to marry an opposite sex partner”

    Third sentence…untrue and so are your accusations.” What are you talking about?

    Fourth sentence: “who is to say all Gay couples would get married if they could.” That is not traditionally how the law works. It is along the lines of the principle “better to let 12 guilty men go free than to convict one innocent man.” In other words when all have the same options then I’ll worry about what you (not I) construe as an inequity. As to your assertion “generating new inequalities” – tell that to the desperately ill Gay “spouse” who doesn’t have insurance. An unjust system produces injustices – who’s so say which situation is more or less “unjust”? Although I do get your point about perceptions and how it can be used against “us.”

  • D. Z.

    If you’d read the original article, it’s not that anyone can claim to be in a relationship and just get domestic benefits or that any gay person can just get benefits.

    “The couple must have lived at the same residence and been in a relationship for more than six months, be responsible for shared living expenses and provide proof of financial interdependence. The employee and his or her partner must not be related to one another, nor in a domestic partnership or marriage with any other person.”

    I think the point this article was trying to make was that straight people get shared benefits when they marry, but since gay people can’t marry, they get shared benefits even when they don’t marry. But they still have to be in a domestic partnership and show as much proof as straight couples. It’s now as equal as it can be with what they have to work with. It’s a good thing, and not straight discrimination, which is what I thought this article was about.

    Misleading, but good to know nonetheless.

  • DR

    This will affect about a thousand employees in the PA court system.

    Quite frankly, I fail to see any unfairness in this decision as PA currently bans marriage by statute and currently has a constitutional amendment doing the same under consideration. Add to that the fact that you actually have to live together and maintain a household together, it’s hardly unfair to anyone.

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