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Benefits skewed for same-sex partners

There is a new document posted on the bulletin board at my part-time retail job. It describes the benefits allotted to employees, including medical, dental and vision insurance. It also asserts that my company, in keeping with their celebrated “diversity” principle, has created rules and regulations concerning domestic partner benefits.

I’m very pleased that my company has taken initiative to open their benefits to homosexual life partners as well as married spouses. I respect the progressiveness of the corporation. However, when I inquired as to whether I would receive the same advantages, I was denied.

But how is that so? The qualifications simply state that my partner and I must be in a monogamous relationship for more than 12 months and share a living space. My boyfriend and I have been together for just over two years, and we’ve lived together for the majority of that time, military deployments aside. But I was informed that this is a special allowance to gay couples, and if I wanted to share my benefits with my life partner, I would have to get married.

But I don’t want to get married right now. I have personal reasons for keeping myself single for the time being. Although I’m very much in love with the partner I’ve chosen, marriage isn’t an option for me right now. Hence, this new policy that supposedly ensures equality throughout my company is showing prejudice against my heterosexual relationship.

What would stop me from claiming that a female roommate of more than a year in need of medical insurance isn’t my “domestic life partner?” Short of the fact that I’m a law-abiding American, nothing but a little affidavit would stand between me and insurance fraud if I so chose.

There is a clause that states that whenever the relationship ends (akin to a divorce, I assume), my former partner would simply sign an affidavit claiming that we are no longer together. I could hypothetically annul the benefits I’d bestow upon my roommate as easily as I acquired them.Insurance companies are leaving themselves open to a new degree of insurance fraud.

But I have a solution that may very well please everyone, so hear me out. If the insurance companies that are now providing this policy want to protect themselves from a scam, they would be well served by this idea. I understand that many conservatives do not want the word “marriage” attributed to a homosexual couple, citing that marriage is sanctioned by holy authority. However, that does not mean that the gay community should miss out on the legal benefits that married couples receive simply because genetics (or other circumstances) make them choose a different path of life.

Here’s what should be done: A legally acceptable agreement that binds one person to another should be created. To avoid offending anyone, it should be called something other than marriage; a legal union would work. This entitles the parties in the union to the benefits afforded to married Americans without insulting anyone’s beliefs.

This is not a bipartisan issue, nor is it a religious issue. It is an equality issue. It is not fair that any couple in a stable, long-term relationship should not be able to share medical insurance or file taxes jointly simply because of their bedroom behavior. If partner A receives a killer PPO through his company and partner B is self-employed with no insurance, it would only be rational for partner A to list B as a dependant.

Call this union what you will clandestinely. If a homosexual wants a bachelor party or a wedding shower, so be it. That is a personal matter. I am not concerned with the private aspect of this accord; the primary concern lies in medical benefits and legal responsibility.

And now I, as a heterosexual, am being discriminated against. Were my boyfriend and I a same-sex couple, we’d have the right to enlist in the joint benefit plan my company offers (which has great advantages, I must say).

I’m not endorsing or disapproving of gay marriage. Again, that is not the matter. I have proposed a middle ground advantageous to all parties; a compromise. It may not fully depict any one person’s beliefs, but, as my sister always says, “No matter how thin you slice it, the bread always has two sides,” and whether you approve or not, some progress will be made in this matter. The sooner Americans reach a concession, the better the resolution.

What someone does in the privacy in his or her bedroom is just that: private. It is nobody else’s business who has sex with whom and how. Segregating the homosexual community because of their sexual preference is not only inane, but foolish. Gay, straight, bisexual: I don’t want to know what you do in your intimate life. As long as it’s consensual between two adults, carry on — with the privileges afforded to all Americans.

Taylor Williams is a junior majoring in English education.