Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Rewarding People for Shacking Up: City's Domestic Partner Benefits and Same Sex Marriage

I don't usually quote Abdul, but he gets the domestic partner benefits issue presently before the council exactly right.  From an editorial that can be found on Abdul's Indiana Barrister and Indy Politics blogs:
Indianapolis City-County Council to
consider domestic partner benefits for
local government employees
... since same-sex couples cannot legally marry in the state of Indiana, extending domestic partner benefits makes sense to me.
I do have a problem with giving the same treatment to unmarried couples. And please note, I am not by any stretch the morality police, much to the dismay of my wife’s long-time pastor. My problem with giving the same treatment to unmarried couples is that it disincentivizes them to stop shacking up and tie the knot. Gay couples can’t get married. Opposite sex couples can. So if they want the benefits then they should do what my wife and I did three years ago on September 5 at 2:50 p.m. in Noblesville, get married.  
I have never been a big fan of that living together stuff. It’s one thing if you’re doing it with the intent to getting married and staying together, but living together because no one wants the real responsibility and commitment that comes along with marriage, I have an issue with.
Amen.  I do not want to deny anyone the benefits of marriage.  That's why, if I were on the council, I might well vote for domestic partner benefits solely because same sex couples can't get married.  (I think legally there might be a problem if domestic partner benefits were just provided to same sex couples cohabiting but denied to heterosexual couples.)  The minute though same sex marriage is legal in Indiana - and it is coming folks - I do not want my government providing benefits to "domestic partners" who prefer shacking up to making the ultimate legal and emotional commitment one can make to another human being - marriage.  I believe very much in the institution of marriage and I don't want my government undermining it with "domestic partner" benefits given to unmarried couples who choose to live together instead of entering into the marriage commitment.


Cato said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Cato said...

"I do have a problem with giving the same treatment to unmarried couples."

And I have a problem with meddlesome busybodies who dictate the narrow range in which others may live and interfere in employer-employee relations.

Health benefits are extended to employees' families to attract and retain employees. Nothing more. The employee is sole master of who is in his or her family. This is a personnel matter, not a social policy matter.

Clouding a benefits discussion by snooping into marital status and sexual preference is irrelevant to the question and disgustingly intrusive.

Republicans never seem to mind the exorbitant salaries Mitch and Greg pay to their executive heads, because they preach at us that such salaries are necessary to attract and retain the best and brightest. Of course, we all recognize that as nonsense and know that such largesse is merely paying off friends with the public fisc, but we'll take them at their word, for the moment.

Extending health benefits to an employee's family serves that stated talent-retention end far better and across a far greater range of employees than does allowing party stalwarts to profiteer in patronage jobs.

Of course, Republican hypocrisy can be expected in any discussion with as much certainty as the sunset.

Paul K. Ogden said...


You misunderstand. I wasn't talking about government dictating to private business what benefits they can offer their employees, married or unmarried. I'd be 100% against that as I think just about any Republican would be.

I was talking about the benefits GOVERNMENT offers to its employees. I think we taxpayers have a right, through our elected officials, to limit the dispension of those benefits...that you shouldn't be able to get breaks on such things as insurance because you're simply living with someone.

Indy Rob said...

Paul, Cato,

"paul" "that you shouldn't be able to get breaks on such things as insurance because you're simply living with someone."

"cato" "And I have a problem with meddlesome busybodies who dictate the narrow range in which others may live and interfere in employer-employee relations."

According to Cato, anyone should be able to extend their personal employment benefits to someone else should be able to do so without having their employer question a relationship.

According to Paul, anyone wanting to extend their employment benefits to someone else should be in some sort of committed relationship.

I would agree with Paul, that the employer has the choice of determining eligibility for employer-paid "family" benefits. I also think that the government must have per-defined criteria for deciding benefit coverage for government employees. This criteria has to include some definition defining which employees are in committed relationships to order to determine eligibility for family health coverage.

As far as the statement "Republicans never seem to mind the exorbitant salaries...", I am a republican and I do mind those exorbitant salaries paid to those in government jobs and those running non-profits. A bunch of losers who would not get that much compensation if they had to run a business that they owned.

In addition, government mandated health insurance (if it is held up by the supreme court) is going to quickly eliminate any significant, competitive advantage in talent retention and hiring that is provided by extending health benefits to a non-traditional family. If this law is found constitutional, it will quickly morph into a set of mandatory rules for coverage.

Unknown said...

Why should the government be involved in deciding what marriage is? Leave that to the churches. just because 2 people live together rather than get married does not mean that they are any less committed than married couples. Over 50% of married couples get divorced. The government should not be involved in doling out benefits based on its perception of a moral question. Should married adulterers be denied benefits? Paul, you should have ignored Abdul's comments.

Nicolas Martin said...

Brad is right. It's no business of government how people share their lives and love.