Monday, November 09, 2009

U.S. House moves to extend health benefits to gay couples

The U.S. House of Representatives overwhelmingly approved a health care reform bill Saturday that recognizes gay unions and makes health care more affordable for gay families.

Titled The Affordable Health Care for America Act, it extends Medicaid to subsidize moderate-income people who otherwise could not afford quality health insurance. Also tucked inside the bill is U.S. Representative Jim McDermott's (D-Washington) Tax Equity for Health Plan Beneficiaries Act of 2009 introduced in May.

The bill alters the tax status of health benefits granted to the spouses of gay employees (for states that have gay marriage, civil unions, or domestic partnerships). Under the bill, such benefits would no longer be considered taxable income for employees.

A report released in 2007 by M. V. Lee Badgett, research director at the Williams Institute, found that gay employees with partners pay, on average, $1,069 per year more in taxes than would a married employee with the same coverage.

"Collectively, unmarried couples lose $178 million per year to additional taxes," the report says. “U.S. employers also pay a total of $57 million per year in additional payroll taxes because of this unequal tax treatment."

Fifty-nine percent of Fortune 500 companies offer partner benefits, up from 40% in 2003, a 2009 Human Rights Campaign report says.

The legislation now moves to the Senate, where its future remains uncertain.

Kentucky's Mitch McConnell (R) a senior Senator and the U.S. Senate Minority Leader will like vote against it, or worse still, attempt to stop the bill in the U.S. Senate.


Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Voters in the State of Maine repeal Marriage Equality - Washington's Referendum - 71 Update

With the defeat in the State of Maine, our interview with Mr. Vanderpool is being delayed until tomorrow.

Equality Maine has yet to issue any official press release, but the Associated Press has quoted several other organization, mainly the ones who repealed the law.


Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Finally, Rep. Stan Lee (R-Lexington), a nightmare to Kentucky's gay population, will be opposed!

Finally, one of the biggest nightmares to Kentucky's gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and intersex community, Representative Stan Lee (R-Lexington) (pictured) has competition in the upcoming 2010 election.  Lee is not only a nightmare to the LGBTI community, but everyone who wants to move Kentucky forward and stands for equality, justice, and progress.   

The election is closer than you think considering the primary is in May 2010.  Representative Lee has run unopposed in the last several elections.  

Representative Lee has made a name for himself in the gay community for attempting to ban domestic-partner benefits at the University of Kentucky, University of Louisville, and all other Kentucky schools.  

Representative Lee, and one of his key allies, Representative Joseph Fischer (R) from Northern Kentucky have also tried to remove the ability of Kentucky cities to add people as a protected class.  Currently, Covington, Lexington, and Louisville have city ordinances which prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.



Sunday, November 01, 2009

Citizens in Maine and Washington will vote to repeal gay marriage or domestic partnership laws in defiance of their lawmakers and Governor

Citizens in two states decide whether or not to keep gay marriage, or institutions similar to them.  

In Maine voters will decide to override the Maine House of Representatives, Senate, and even the Governor to repeal their new "same-sex marriage law," or more appropriately chartered,  Maine's Marriage Equality Act.

In Washington citizens are also fighting the states expanded domestic partnership bill.  The expanded law adds benefits including the right to use sick leave to care for a domestic partner, and rights related to adoption, child custody and child support.

I am not sure I like the system of government in these two states; gay rights groups fought long and hard for these new laws, and after years of getting them passed in the legislature, signed into law by the sitting Governor, it could all be reversed!   

Religious groups in both states have spent millions and millions of dollars attempting to reverse these laws.