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HRC Experts Available on Tax Issues for Same-Sex Couples and Legislative Solutions PDF Print E-mail
Apr 11, 2010 at 01:42 PM

WASHINGTON – With Tax Day this week on April 15, experts from the Human Rights Campaign are available to discuss the inequalities faced by same-sex couples and the status of legislation to address them.

To speak with HRC expert, contact: Michael Cole at , Office: 202-216-1553, or Cell: 202-716-1651.

Background on tax issues faced by same-sex couples and legislative solutions:

Tax Equity for Health Plan Beneficiaries Act (H.R. 2625 / S. 1153)
Currently, when employers offer health benefits to the spouses and dependents of their employees, the employee does do not have to take the value of those benefits into income.  Since this exclusion is not available domestic partners, the value of the benefits is treated as income, triggering additional income and payroll tax liability of more than $1,700 per year (for an average wage worker making $33,000 with a typical employer health plan). The bill would treat the value of employer-provided health insurance for a domestic partner the same as it does for spouses or dependents – excluding it from the employee’s income.

Domestic Partnership Benefits and Obligations Act (H.R. 2517 / S. 1102) 
For federal employees, just as in the private sector, benefits, such as health insurance and retirement savings, are a significant portion of employee compensation.  The federal government offers attractive family benefits to employees with different-sex spouses, but does not offer the same benefits to lesbian and gay workers with partners.  This bill would provide the same family benefits to lesbian and gay federal civilian employees as are already provided to employees with different-sex spouses.

Family Medical Leave Insurance Act (H.R. 1723)
The Family and Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”) grants legally married spouses up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave from work to care for a seriously ill spouse, parent or child.  The law fails to include coverage for millions of LGBT Americans in committed, long-term relationships and many families that do qualify for FMLA coverage cannot afford to take unpaid leave. This bill would grant essential benefits to working families by providing twelve weeks of paid FMLA coverage to employees seeking to take leave to care for their families, including leave to care for a domestic partner and their children.

The Family and Medical Leave Inclusion Act (H.R. 2132) 
Currently, the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) grants legally married spouses up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave from work to care for a seriously ill spouse, parent or child.  The law does not however cover same-sex partners or spouses.  This bill would expand the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 to permit an employee to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave from work if his or her domestic partner or same-sex spouse has a serious health condition.

Equal Access to COBRA Act of 2010 (S. 3182)
Currently, federal law requires employers to offer continuing health care coverage (COBRA) to departing employees and their beneficiaries for up to 36 months.  These coverage requirements do not extend to domestic partners or same-sex spouses – even at companies that offer health coverage to domestic partners of employees. This bill would change federal law to allow equal access to COBRA coverage for all individuals who are covered by an employer’s health plan.

Respect for Marriage Act (H.R. 3567) 
Due to the Defense of Marriage Act, states can refuse to recognize valid civil marriages of same-sex couples and carves all same-sex couples, regardless of their marital status, out of all federal statutes, regulations, and rulings applicable to all other married people—thereby denying them over 1100 federal benefits and protections.  This bill would repeal DOMA in its entirety, and ensures that valid marriages are respected under federal law, providing couples certainty that regardless of where they travel or move, they will not become strangers under federal law if a state refuses to recognize them as married for purposes of that state’s law.

User Comments

Comment by Christina on 2012-07-01 11:56:28
Pilgrim,Fair points.I obsoiuvly don’t know the motivation behind Kirk Cameron’s situation, so I should not speculate.Regarding the acting, each of us is entitled to our own opinion. And, “taste is a matter of taste,” as they say.Thanks for the tip on “The Genius Club.” Sounds like I will be missing that one.Let us know when YOU finish that sermon!Kyle fourpointer,No, I did not miss the point of the movie. Pretty hard to miss it since it beat me over the head with it time and again in such an obvious fashion it was ridiculous. And as I noted, the message was noble, implementation was too flawed for my taste.It's not about the acting and cinematography??? It's a movie, so of course it's about those things, along with the message. That's like saying food is not about taste, only about about nutrition. I like to get both. If there were no other quality movies from which to learn and discuss Christian topics in the context of our society, then I could watch this. But there are too many other high-quality options.And you should refrain from blasting all of Hollywood as if it's one big entity. There are plenty of quality films out there (and plenty of garbage, too). One film I have not used but love is The Passion of the Christ. Quality, quality, quality, and on message.Below is my recent movie list (all good, some better than others). Again, my emphasis is on highlighting Christian messages and response within the context of our society and to highlight social-justice issues from a Christian perspective. Jesus called us to be in the world but not of it; not to hide from or ignore its many problems. Enjoy!Amazing GraceThe Nativity StoryEnd of the SpearLion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe (kids)The ApostleThe Killing FieldsThe Quiet AmericanHenry Poole Was HerePrince Caspian (kids)Sling BladeThe Kite RunnerUnforgivenHotel RwandaMillions (kids)Million Dollar BabyBecause of Winn-Dixie (kids)Slumdog MillionaireDead Man Walking

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