Tag Archives: same sex benefits

Texas Says FU To Gay Soldiers, Withholds Gay Spousal Benefits Despite Pentagon Orders

Texas is a messThe “not-so-great” state of Texas and it’s military forces are defying Pentagon orders and refusing to offer partner benefits which include health, pension, and housing, to troops with same-sex spouses, which was supposed to begin today because Texas’ law bans same-sex marriage.

Washington Blade:

Alicia Butler, an Austin, Texas, attorney, said she was rejected when she tried to register with the Defense Enrollment Eligibility Reporting System, or DEERS, the military’s health benefits system, when she applied on Tuesday at Camp Mabry, where her spouse, Judith Chedville, a nurse and Iraq war veteran, is stationed as a member of the National Guard.

“We were told that Texas would not register us into the system and would not issue an ID card for me,” Butler said. “We were told that if she was active duty they would do that for me, but not for a National Guard member because she’s part of the Texas National Guard.

Gay, lesbian and bisexual soldiers and their spouses are being told they must seek out a federal facility to apply.

 

Mass. gay couples to NY: DOMA denies you benefits

From 365Gay and the Associated Press:

(Boston) As same-sex couples in New York prepare this weekend to tie the knot, their brethren in Massachusetts – the first state to legalize gay marriage – have some advice.

Enjoy the wedding because afterward, they will realize that there are 1,000 or so benefits gay couples can’t get because of the federal Defense of Marriage Act: Joint federal tax returns, federal health plans for spouses, and access to spouses’ federal pensions.
“Let them enjoy their joy, but they will soon realize that their marriage is not being seen equally at the federal level,” said Dorene Bowe-Shulman, who married her longtime partner, Mary, in 2004 in Massachusetts, the first state to legalize gay marriage.

New York’s law takes effect at 12:01 a.m. on Sunday, with the state where the gay rights movement began more than 40 years ago joining five other states and the District of Columbia in legalizing same-sex marriage.

While many married gay couples are hoping for the repeal of the 1996 law, known as DOMA, the measure’s supporters are pushing back, arguing that marriage is a union between a man and a woman and that repeal would violate the views of most Americans.

Continues here.

Liechtenstein Beats America To Granting Full Gay Patnership Rights To Lesbian and Gay Couples

Roy Liechtenstein?

No Liechtenstein as in the smallest yet the richest (by measure of GDP per capita) country in the world.

As of Saturday Liechtenstein is now one of many countries who has beaten America, the land of liberty, equality and freedom to granting gay and lesbian couples the right to formally register their partnership be put on a par with heterosexual couples when it comes to inheritance, social security, immigration and taxation.

The government says 68.8 percent of voters approved the law in a binding referendum Sunday. About 31.2 percent voted against those of which stood in line with the Liechtenstein Catholic Church.

Smoke & Mirrors: Obama Isn’t Really Extending Medicaid To Gay Couples, So Don’t Buy The Hype

All over the Internet news source headlines have read: “Obama To Extend Benefits To Same Sex Couples”.  The problem though is that it’s not exactly true.

With he 2012 Election year looming and a major loss of support from the LGBT grassroots community the Obama Administration is doing everything that it can to try to woo (or trick) the LGBT community to once again backing him and the Democratic party and to once again open our gAyTM’s which have been shuttered since the major slap in the face of basically ignoring us, and many of the promised that he made the first two years in Office while the Democrats held both the House and the Senate and progress might have actually been able to be made on many important issues relating to LGBT community.

You see, Obama isn’t exactly extending anything to us.  He’s giving the INDIVIDUAL STATES THE OPTION to extend Medicaid to allow healthy partners in a same-sex relationship to keep their homes while their partners are receiving support for long-term care under Medicaid which is only available to an individual after they run out of money to pay for their care and will  forgo a lien if an individual’s spouse is still living in their house when they are receiving long-term care

Thats really about all.  The problem with this is that right now over 30 States have their own DOMA laws on the books so those states will use that not offer this option.  Some states will use the current financial crisis and the drain it will have on the individual states.  Even if 50% of the states without thie own DOMA laws on the books  do extend the Medicaid option that means this would only be available to LGBT couples in only10 states and help very few LGBT couples. So if you just happen to be gay and live in those other 40 states?  Tough luck. 

But what I find really insulting is that this is not the first time that the White House has made such grandiose blanket statements wrapped in a bow that makes it seem like so much more than it actually is, when it really is such a small achievement while working within and around the boundaries DOMA and not challenging DOMA itself.

In June 2010 the Obama administration made a big announcement about extending federal benefits to gay employee’s.  But these benefits which included which  same-sex partners to use the government’s long-term-care insurance (NOT Health Insurance) and a few other fringe benefits help a minuscule portion of LGBT population) and again this was just a work around to DOMA not a challenge. 

ENDA,  the Domestic Partners and Benefits Act, and the repeal of DOMA sit DEAD in the water.  Even the DADT repeal became a major issue and extremely watered down because it was pressed back until right before the 2010 midterm elections and not pressing forward with it after the 2008 elections

Passing any those would have been a major accomplishment.  What we’ve gotten so far are nothing more than crumbs packed up in pretty press releases.

I more than anyone understand that we don;t really have much of a choice in 2012 unfortunately.  It will be Obama or one of the GOP candidates who want to keep us even more oppressed and push us back into obscurity. What I like to call the “lesser of two evils vote”   But please Obama and the Democratic party DO NOT insult my intelligence by making it seem that you’ve accomplished so much than you actually have done and that we all should be so grateful for the tiny and miniscule increments of Equality you have given us especially after what you had promised us in the first place.

Keep your promises and cut the bullshit.  Because you really need to remember that the losses you incurred were not only due to Tea Party involvement.  The a lack of turnout by Democrats sick of your spineless ways and inabilty to lead and keep your promises was a major factor also.

Gay Federal Workers Can Now Take Leave Without Pay! – We Get Crumbs Because The Domestic Partnership Benefits and Obligations Act Would "Cost Too Much"

The Office of Personnel Management announced late last week that gay and lesbian federal workers with a same-sex partner can now take leave without pay to attend to their family’s educational and medical needs!

BIG SHIT!

The The Office of Personnel Management is crowing about the fact that it’s instructing federal agencies to extend 24 hours of leave without pay each year to gay federal workers, essentially allowing them to attend school functions and medical and dental appointments or to provide care to an elderly partner,  Well here’s some news for the OPM and everyone else.  Leave Without Pay is granted to any employee Gay or Straight at anytime with a Supervisors or Managers permission.  I know.  I seasonally work as a Federal Worker.

All this This HYPE of course is to make it look like Obama’s LAME extended fringe benefits to the same-sex partners of federal workers, was actually SOMETHING BIG and to cover the fact that have nothing to do with the MAJOR benefits like same-sex partner Health Insurance coverage, Life Insurance, Retirement and pension access, etc.  These “extended benfits” are just garbage,  pure and simple and an insult at best.  What was given to us are the  the least important of all Federal benefits and ones that hat very few lesbians and gays men would ever need, use or want.

Of course Obama cannot extend full benefits to the same-sex partners of federal employees unless Congress passes  The Domestic Partnership Benefits and Obligations Act  and of course efforts to do so have stalled this year in the House and Senate ever since the CBO estimated that benefits for same-sex partners would cost $310 million over the next 5 years.

Partners Of Federal Employees Can Apply For A Few LIMITED Benefits Next Month – If I Wanted Crumbs I’d Buy A Cake!

Ohhhhhhhhhhhhh.  The Office of Personnel Management announced that same-sex partners of federal employees can begin applying for long-term care insurance next month. 

President Obama signed a memo last June extending some benefits to same-sex partners of federal workers, including access to the government’s Federal Long Term Care Insurance Program. On Tuesday, OPM essentially broadened the definition of relatives eligible for the program to include same-sex domestic partners of eligible federal workers, U.S. Postal Service workers and federal retirees. OPM will not extend access to opposite-sex domestic partners, because they can obtain the insurance through marriage, “an option not currently available to same-sex domestic partners,” the agency wrote in Tuesday’s Federal Register. OPM said same-sex couples can visit www.ltcfeds.com to complete a form that states they are each other’s domestic partner and intend to stay together indefinitely. The federal worker must submit the form to their employer. Couples will not be required to provide further proof of the relationship, OPM said, because that “would impose a greater burden on domestic partners than other qualified relatives.” The agency said it does not ask opposite-sex couples for bank statements or other proof of marriage

Big Whoopie, they are extending coverage for the government’s Federal Long Term Care Insurance Program. THIS IS NOT HEALTH INSURANCE! Which will NOT be offered to same-sex partners and no other federal health-care or insurance programs such as Life Insurance inclusion and/or Retirement Options be offered.

The Obama Administration continues to claim that it is  prevented by existing Federal law (DOMA) from providing same-sex domestic partners with the full range of benefits enjoyed by heterosexual married couples even though a Chief Judge of the Ninth Circuit, Judge Alex Kozinski has has ruled that the Federal Goverment can INDEED allow medical benefits for partners of gay federal employees WITHOUT violating DOMA in a ruling in the case of Karen Golinski which Head [White] House Fagroe John Berry now chooses to ignore and fight against!

Karen and her life partner of twenty years, Amy Cunninghis, married in California in 2008. After working for the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals as a judicial attorney for seventeen years, and with new legal force supporting her relationship after her marriage, Karen renewed a prior request for family health benefits.
When Karen’s request was denied, Lambda Legal and pro bono counsel at Morrison & Foerster LLP assisted her with her internal administrative grievance, as required by the court’s personnel policies. Hearing the case in his role as Chief Judge of the Ninth Circuit, Judge Alex Kozinski agreed that Karen is entitled to equal compensation in the form of family benefits for Amy, and that the so-called federal “Defense of Marriage Act” poses no barrier. The U.S. Office of Personnel Management (“OPM”) then interfered, however, directing Karen’s insurer to defy Judge Kozinski’s orders and not enroll Amy in Karen’s family health plan.

Karen’s case started during the Bush administration, but we found ourselves facing a surprising adversary after the election. President Obama’s administration has continued aggressively to defy Kozinski’s orders, while also refusing to offer its legal arguments in court. Repeated conversations with administration attorneys and representatives have yielded no progress, leaving us to wonder – where is the “fierce advocate” for LGBT rights that President Obama promised us? The administration made its case during the health care debate about the need to have more people in group health plans-the very solution it so vigorously denies Karen.

After OPM flouted no fewer than four court orders from Judge Kozinski, we were forced to initiate an enforcement case in federal court. It was a disappointing irony when we had to name as a defendant OPM Director John Berry, believed by many to be the highest ranking openly gay person in the administration. Karen’s case is now pending in the District Court for the Northern District of California, where we’re seeking an order requiring OPM to stop interfering with the court’s personnel practices in violation of the constitutional “separation of powers” doctrine and other rules.

As Judge Kozinski recognized when ordering back pay for Karen as partial compensation for the insurance coverage she’s been denied so far, there is an “inherent inequality” in allowing heterosexuals to participate in the employee health plan while giving lesbians and gay men like Karen “a wad of cash to go elsewhere. Even if the destination is the same, it’s still the back of the bus.”

So while The White House spins the crumbs of a few third rate benefits into what seems to be “equality”  but in fact makes us seem and feel more like second class citizens and Joe Solmonese creams another $500.00 suit because Obama smiled at him, just remember it is what it is.

BULLSHIT!