During a Facebook discussion about marriage equality, someone on my friend list posed this question to me (after defending her religiously sanctioned heterosexual marriage):
Why should the government recognize your relationship?
I was less passionate about my response then as I am now. Right now Dan and I are trying to figure out what we’ll do as far health benefits go. Long story short, because the government doesn’t recognize our relationship, we’re losing a lot of money our married heterosexual co-workers get. That may not seem like a big deal; it’s only several thousand dollars per year, after all. But it is a big deal. Not only is it more expensive for us because we can’t share benefits at work, the benefits we can get other places aren’t as good. In other words, we have to pay more to get less.
Many argue that civil unions and domestic partnerships are “separate but equal”. Nothing is farther from the truth. Neither my place of work nor Dan’s offer benefits to people in civil unions or domestic partnerships. Essentially, it’s communicated to us that because we’re gay our relationship isn’t as good and doesn’t deserve the same benefits. We’re less than.
As religious institutions push to legislate “separate but equal” relationship statuses (e.g., Prop 8/22 in California, Amendment 1 in North Carolina, etc), I encourage you to think about how this impacts Dan and I in our places of work. If the government would recognize our relationship, things would be much more simple.