Thursday, June 21, 2007

Lose Some, Win Some

Regardless of where one stands on the gay marriage issue, it never seemed equitable to me that employers would offer "domestic partner" benefits to gay couples while giving hetero ones the cold shoulder. And now, it looks as if that whole kerfluffle may become moot:
Well, that seems to have settled that.
Or maybe not: there's an appeal currently wending its way through the Wolverine State's legal system, so we'll have to wait for the final word there.
■ Meantime, Kentucky's Attorney General has put the kibosh on two Blue Grass State universities offering those domestic partner benefits, again regardless of sexual orientation.
■ In Nebraska, a US Appeals Court upheld an amendment barring government agencies from offering such benefits to same-sex couples (although it didn't address unwed heterosexual partners).
■ And here in the Buckeye State, a lawsuit's been filed to prohibit my alma mater's (Miami University - Go Redskins!) from granting health and other benefits to same-sex partners of that institution's employees.
On the other hand, more and more employers are looking to "do right by" folks who adopt. According to USA Today, almost half of employers offer adoption benefits; that's a 25% increase from just a few years ago.
But just what does "adoption benefit" mean?
Well, that depends on whom you ask. Some employers provide cash-on-the-barrelhead for legal services, others give paid time off for folks to adjust to their newly-expanded families. The only downside is that, since these are not considered as benefits under 213(d), the proceeds themselves are taxable as income. Still, 75% of something is better than nada.
If you're thinking about adoption, you might want to check out this website for a list of which companies offer what additional benefits.
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