July 9th, 2011

Gay marriage: the law of unintended consequences

Some large companies say to gays “You want equality? I’ll give you equality.”

But this much equality may not be what gay rights activists bargained for:

Now that same-sex marriage has been legalized in New York, at least a few large companies are requiring their employees to tie the knot if they want their partners to qualify for health insurance.

Corning, I.B.M. and Raytheon all provide domestic partner benefits to employees with same-sex partners in states where they cannot marry. But now that they can legally wed in New York, five other states and the District of Columbia, they will be required to do so if they want their partner to be covered for a routine checkup or a root canal.

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.

The companies are allowing a grace period to phase in the policy. They are still in the minority; other companies have not announced any plans to end domestic partner benefits for same sex partners. Query: are there any straight rights activists who are now going to take up the cause of making straight couples equal to gay couples?

[NOTE: And what dental insurance covers the cost of a root canal? I’ve never had dental insurance, but I was under the impression that it usually barely covers an annual checkup and tooth-cleaning.]

20 Responses to “Gay marriage: the law of unintended consequences”

  1. MissJean Says:

    I am glad to hear this. My former employer extended benefits to co-habiting same-sex partners, and I never understood why. My co-worker with a common-law marriage couldn’t get benefits for his wife after 11 years. I couldn’t cover my relative who lived with me for six years.

    Personally, I’d like to fight for domestic partnerships between relatives, so that, should I not marry, I could share benefits and inheritance rights with a relative without the hassle of writing wills and power-of-attorney documents.

    As for root canals, I exhausted my dental coverage and emptied my medical expense account (which I’d been hoping to use for new glasses) because I had to have a root canal. My dentist was nice enough to hold off on the final capping until the fall, when the new “insurance year” begins. (In the meantime, I chew carefully.)

  2. Kurt Says:

    I think this is as it should be: if you’re going to base your case for change on the claim of “equal rights,” as most of the gay activist organizations do these days, then you can’t complain when the benefits you enjoyed before the arrival of those “rights” disappear. Needless to say, once again, the law of unintended consequences makes itself known.

    As far as dental insurance, I’d agree with your point and that of MissJean. My dental insurance used to cover the cost of two annual cleanings and then some portion of other procedures until you hit the payout cap (which would have been exhausted pretty soon if you needed a costly procedure like a root canal). In this era of recession, federal healthcare mandates and rising insurance costs, my employer has seen fit to modify all of our insurance coverages, including reducing the dental coverage to little more than the two cleanings.

  3. geran Says:

    This is when I feel so sorry that I’m not a super-smart intellectual like Barney Frank. (Dripping sarcasm here for the lefties.)

    See, years ago (hint: all through recorded history), homosexuals were thought to be perverts.

    At least now we are politically correct, even though our country is falling apart.

  4. Occam's Beard Says:

    Now that same-sex marriage has been legalized in New York, at least a few large companies are requiring their employees to tie the knot if they want their partners to qualify for health insurance.

    You have to laugh.



  5. Don Carlos Says:

    What length of co-habitation is/was required for ‘partnership’ coverage? The turnover in ‘partners’ is probably fairly high.

  6. Curtis Says:

    You can sometimes get a good sense of somebody by their work desk. You can get a good sense of the culture of an organization by the work space: the banners they hang up, the cartoons on the doors, the company or government publication if there is one.

    I cleaned government offices as a night job when I went to college. I forget what the agencies were, but they were right by the University of Oregon so you can imagine! And it disgusted me, that bureaucracy, that hypocrisy. You think there was anything like diversity? Their desks and work space showed incredibly uniform, partisan and activist positions. These government employees were a bunch (gaggle, swarm, coven) of fat ticks suckling the blood of our nation and looking to make it a feast for all ticks everywhere.

    Diversity is a pipe dream, an abstraction, an impossibility. What is possible is the United States Constitution!

    Gays and liberals and the crowd in which are deposited, supposedly, the only concern for human rights in this world, scream and whine about equal rights and equal representation but they do just the opposite once they hold the power and reins of decision. Equal rights become special rights and the entitlement demands never end. Union and government employees ride their supposed work brethren harder than an Arab his horse in a race where he has bet his sister. Let progressives get in power and you will see a new kind of Jim Crow, well, we do see the new Jim Crow. You get massive hypocrisy like Pigford, Muslim countries setting the standards for free speech and expression, Fast and Furious, Weiner, Obama lecturing Congress on getting to work; and all the while our supposedly best and brightest leave out all fact and merely state allegations as fact. Read the following and see if you can find more than two facts.


    I am delighted to see a well deserved comeuppance against the militant arm of gaydom that believes if they make a large enough noise they will get what they want. It reminds me of that lizard that flares up its neck fan to make it look like it is larger than it is, and then spits in the eye of its perceived attacker, and then runs. And now, in this case, the dog caught the bus only to realize he had no coherent plan what to do with the bus once he caught it. It was too big for him, and he turned around and bit his own body. Good. That is what should happen to dogs that chase buses.

    People are being led to believe that the fight about gay marriage is over, but that is false. Just like abortion, the crest has been reached, and the real support, which has always been much less than reported, is gradually being revealed. New York was a triumph of RINOism and proved the truth of why Sarah Palin and other tea partiers are, nearly without exception, the only ones we can trust. Gary Johnson is great on fiscal policy, but is led to contradiction by his libertarianism:

    “Life is precious and must be protected. A woman should be allowed to make her own decisions during pregnancy until the point of viability of a fetus.”

    There are at least two problems here: One, the two sentences are at odds unless one denies the life which is in the womb–yet the first sentence obviously refers to that life. This is worse than rhetoric. It is sophistry; two, what is the point where a fetus becomes viable?

    Libertarians, this is not your time. If we had a generally uniform culture, then I would love a libertarian President. But we have a war for the future of our country going on and war suspends the focus on civil liberties. Obama knows this. Wire taps were up one-third in 2010.

    Remember Ginsburg’s Howl? Here is a quote that sums up how this asinine poem was apotheosisized:

    “Ginsberg read on to the end of the poem, which left us standing in wonder, or cheering and wondering, but knowing at the deepest level that a barrier had been broken, that a human voice and body had been hurled against the harsh wall of America…”

    The harsh wall of America? Ginsburg, the predecessor of Michael Moore, did very well by hurling insults at his freedom. And like most progressives, they claim for themselves more than they are, in this case, Ginsburg claimed he was the equal of Blake and Whitman. Can I puke now? Can I puke on every lazy beatnik long haired red diapered malcontent who sang Howl and especially the militant, hypocritical, self-righteous gays? Is that not justice? They have puked on me, on you, on America, on our Constitution, on our integrity, our good intentions, our children! Howl really was a gay song to begin with. Read it and absorb the cynical and hateful projection, and the life denying darkness. Funny how gays didn’t realize that Howl analyzed them, criticized them, damned them. Howl is the gay’s elegy. But these are not adults here. They are children refusing responsibility, and they see what they want to see.

    Funny how John Dewey respected children and came up with that weird philosophy that children have as much to teach as the adult. This weirdness was incorporated into the soul of American education yet it didn’t quite work out in delivering equality. Funny that: We let children lead and surprise! Chaos.

    Children leading has been the Western “Experiment” and it is time to declare that it has failed. The empirical results are in. Not one of the great progressive minds produced anything. Oliver Wendell Holmes? His was a great mind just at the beginning of the degradation, the vampirization of our culture, and he helped introduce “pragmatism” to our jurisprudence. It is impossible now to make sense of our law and the “pragmatists” seek to debase it further by subordinating it to international and sharia law.

    There has been no progressive effort that has produced anything like our great Constitution. To the contrary: Like the serpent in the Garden beguiled Eve against the character of God, so have the progressives beguiled our Nation against the character of our Constitution. And they are still trying: Time magazine editor Richard Stengel presented the cover of his new July 4 issue which featured the U.S. Constitution going through a paper shredder. He asks if the document still matters. According to Stengel, it does, but not as much anymore. Well then why show it going through a shredder?

    And on the July 4 issue. That bastard! He is no legitimate son of our country. He is right there with Obama, Ayers, and Wright. Hollywood, Harvard, and GE.

    Shall our great Experiment yield to another? Shall lies overcome blood, sacrifice and what Love has created? Generation after generation of immigrant has come here and built a life for family, future and faith.

    No. The progressive did not in the Garden play fair and they will not now.

    As for us, we shall pay a price but paying that price is a privilege and works atonement.

  7. Gringo Says:

    IMHO, a big push in gay marriage was to get the bennies of married heterosexuals. So they now have to jump through more hoops. Good. As I am a contract employee who gets no “freebie” benefits such as insurance or pensions, I have no objection to what the insurance companies have done here.

    Too few gays came to the conclusion that as they wanted the government out of their bedrooms, they would benefit from having as little government regulation dealing specifically with gays as possible.

  8. Rose Says:

    I tried telling people – BE CAREFUL WHAT YOU ASK FOR!

    It’ still strange – back in the 70s, we “lived in sin” because we didn’t want “that little piece of paper.” “Significant other” was coined as a phrase to assuage parental shame.

    As for this – have to say, it’s only fair. Can’t have it both ways.

  9. Occam's Beard Says:

    For my part, I think that ideally no one should get benefits of any kind whatsoever. You get cash; you buy your own benefits.

    Auto insurance is the model.

  10. Ilíon Says:

    When I had dental insurance, it covered *two* annual check-ups and cleanings; and an X-Ray at least every two years. Since I wanted four annual cleanings, I paid for the other two myself … and when I didn’t have the insurance, I paid for all four.

  11. Ilíon Says:

    Indeed, Occam’s Beard. The demand for “freebies” is what got us in this mess.

  12. Don Carlos Says:

    Freebies, like dental insurance for annual cleaning. Absurd, Like gas insurance for your car.

  13. Occam's Beard Says:

    The demand for “freebies” is what got us in this mess.

    Exactly, Ilion. It’s a flaw in neural wiring; if we don’t pay for something shortly before or after we get it, we consider it “free.”

    Rather like housetraining dogs, in fact. If you don’t catch ’em in the act, they don’t connect your irate response with the puddle (or worse!) on the floor.

  14. Occam's Beard Says:

    Actually, the desire for “freebies,” and the willingness to evince sufficient mendacity to promise such, is the engine of the Democrat Party.

  15. ELC Says:

    Bravo, Curtis! 🙂

  16. Richard Aubrey Says:

    Dental insurance is not insurance in any meaningful sense.
    Insurance is using periodic small payments to provide access to a large payment in case of a rare and severe contingency.
    Dental insurance is pre-paid dental payments. Given the co-pays, maximums, waiting periods, better to put the money in your own pocket and floss regularly.
    Exceptions are the contracts with big firms, particularly union contracts. Those are dental-expense pass-throughs to the employer.
    Here’s how health and life/disability bennies work:
    If the employer has $100 per month to give to his employees and tries to figure out how to spend it, he can bump the salary.
    From which comes SS, leaving about $88 Then work comp and unemployment premiums might drop that by, say, $3, depending on history and occupation, so we’re down to $85 to be paid to the employee. State and or local income taxes we’ll say are $4, down to $81, and 25% makes brings us to about $60. It would be even less than that if the compensation increase required an increase in the pension contribution.
    The $100 is deductible to the employer as compensation or business expenses, one way or another.
    Or, bennies. No taxes, no work comp premiums, no unemployment premiums, all deductible to the employer.
    Result: Employer has $100 with which to buy/provide bennies, or about 65% more effective expenditure.
    So even if the dental insurance is nothing more than a high-limit dental expense pass-through to the employer, it’s better than trying to bump the employee’s premium by that much.

  17. Richard Aubrey Says:

    Oh, yeah. Despite the obvious and simple nature of the above calcs, most of the recipients think it’s “free”.
    In fact, it’s not “free”, but it’s “better”.

  18. The Den Mother Says:

    My dental insurance covered a root canal, post, and crown, but only up to an annual maximum. Still, I got my premiums back for many years from that one procedure.

  19. Bill Johnson Says:

    You are lucky to have an employer and any dental assistance. I traded a nice inboard/outboard boat for a crown.

    Needed the crown more – could sleep at night without the boat, but not without the root canal…

  20. Richard Aubrey Says:

    Den mother.
    That’s my point. You got your premiums back. It’s a pre-paid plan. A savings plan.
    Auto insurance is, as somebody said, more the model. You pay, say, $2000 annually and, if your luck is bad, get $40,000 a year for life due to disability, and all the medical bills, and a new car, should you still be able to drive one.
    You hope not to get your premiums back. Insurance for dental work is like insurance against paying the rent.

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Previously a lifelong Democrat, born in New York and living in New England, surrounded by liberals on all sides, I've found myself slowly but surely leaving the fold and becoming that dread thing: a neocon.

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