Letters to the Editor

Human opinion

March 30, 2007


To the editor:

In a story summarizing the positions of City Commission candidates concerning a "domestic registry," a Journal-World reporter wrote that the registry would give gay couples no "new legal rights." It could simply be used by companies who want to offer health insurance to domestic partners but need a way to "verify the legitimacy of a partnership."

Several candidates said they want to wait for a legal opinion about this.

I have a human opinion.

If these candidates were, themselves, gay and in a relationship where the difference between being added to a partner's plan or purchasing insurance separately amounted to hundreds of dollars a month - for my wife and I, that is the case - they would not want to wait for a "legal opinion."

Waiting for such an opinion is a chilly luxury of those for whom the health insurance meter isn't running.

Roger Martin, Lawrence


Michael Capra 11 years ago

KANSAS is where your at and its law already that marrage is between a man and a women you have to change that before anything else can be done or move thats it

Weezy_Jefferson 11 years ago

458casul, your grammar makes me sad.

Thats_messed_up 11 years ago

Was that Schauner's "Life Partner"----or Boog's?

mom_of_three 11 years ago

The state law didn't prohibit cities from establishing their own, because that is what Lawrence is doing and the legislature wants to prevent.
Lawrence can't help that we are in the 21st century and the rest of the state is not.

mom_of_three 11 years ago

but the city is speaking to an attorney, and the legislature is trying to prevent it, so obviously someone is scared of something being allowed.

jafs 11 years ago

Will the state prosecute companies that are offering health insurance and other benefits to employees in unmarried relationships?

oldvet 11 years ago

I have heard the argument regarding insurance coverage and I am curious... which companies, in Lawrence, have a stated policy that they will not give benefits to a same-sex domestic partner UNLESS the partnership is certified in a legal domestic registry in Lawrence? Isn't it time we name companies and find out why they have that restrictive requirement...

Jamesaust 11 years ago

"and the granting of benefits by those registries is prohibited by the wording"

ABSOLUTELY NOT. That is a false statement.

The city is granting NO benefits at all. Nothing prohibits any employer from providing the benefits it chooses to its employees (and indeed if the State tried - it would fail - the list is long of companies that would pack up and leave in short order).

Look, I can sit here and declare myself King of Patagonia. It doesn't make the slightest bit of difference whether that declaration has "the force of law." If my employer wishes to address me as "Your Majesty" its no bees-wax to the state...or to you.

Jamesaust 11 years ago

oldvet - Companies can set up any policies they want. Some merely require an affadavit declaring the truthfulness that there is a partnership meeting some minimum standard. (I assume that the falsity of such would result in dismissal from employment, perhaps even a lawsuit for fraudulent conversion of property.)

Other employers demand a third-party verification. Usually, this is just some evidence of marriage. Here, its being on a registry appearently.

I believe AT&T was one of the companies. No doubt, there are others. Most large employers figured out long ago that diversity of employment was a significant business necessity. Heck ... at many rapidly growing, entrepreneurial companies, the bosses ARE the "domestic partnership" individuals (a fact often escaping the social dinosaurs that want to roll back the calendar).

oldvet 11 years ago

Thanks, James. I understand most of what you have said but my question is... what companies, in Lawrence, require same-sex domestic partners to be registered as such on a registry in Lawrence before they will grant insurance benefits... this is the often-stated reason for a registry being needed in Lawrence... we should call these companies out... who are they?

Jamesaust 11 years ago

oldvet - to my knowledge the argument is NOT that companies IN LAWRENCE require people to be registered IN LAWRENCE - although I do believe the local owner of Maceli's Catering here has been outspoken about his employee's benefits.

You inquiry is too narrow. The argument is more general: (a) there are such companies, and (b) some Lawrence persons are employed by them. Given that there are few companies of any size in Lawrence at all and the significant commuting population in the city, I'm not certain what logical basis there would be to view the city-limits as the boundary for the underlying purpose of this registry.

Again, the only use for such a registry is to be an independent, third-party basis to confirm an ongoing relationship beyond merely an otherwise unverifiable self-claim. What's the alternative? Human Resource personnel digging into employee's lives like some Immigration official questioning a 'greencard' holder's marriage of convenience?

(I should note: I'm on the record as calling the registry idea "an pre-election gimmick." I believe the benefits of any such registry to be limited (but that doesn't mean its a bad idea either).

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