By Dan Kennedy • The press, politics, technology, culture and other passions

Semi-legal gay marriage

This is truly outrageous. A nurse at Merrimack Valley Hospital in Haverhill marries her same-sex partner. She asks that her spouse be covered under her Blue Cross plan. And she’s refused, because the hospital’s Tennessee-based owner is self-insured and is thus governed by federal rather than state law.

What is the point of having legal same-sex marriage in Massachusetts if gay and lesbian couples can still be discriminated against on something as basic as health insurance?

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  1. Too Early For This Garbage

    I’m surprised this hasn’t happened more. After all, if you don’t have to pay, why pay? It sounds like the owner can make a case for why there’s no need to pay and the social contract between employers and employee has all but collapsed these days, so there’s no social push for an employer to have to do what’s right.These days it’s all about the bottom line.

  2. Lex

    Well, obviously, Dan, two-thirds of Congress and three-fourths of state legislatures voted to strike the “full-faith-and-credit” clause from the Constitution while you were out for a beer.That’ll learn ya. 🙂

  3. Anonymous

    Actually, the hospital’s plan, being self-insured, is covered by ERISA and federal law. Like it or not, same-sex Mass gay marriages do not exist under federal law. This applies to income taxes, qualified retirement plans, et al. Does the hospital’s plan provide coverage for unmarried partners? If not, if they provided coverage in this one case, then they set a precedent for anyone who is unmarried to get partner coverage. Another “unfair” practice, but it’s always easy to play King Solomon with OPM.Mike Wyatt

  4. Ardee

    lex,Massachusetts never passed a law allowing same-sex marriage. The real constitutional violation is Article XXX of Part of the First of the state constitution.

  5. Mike Wyatt

    After perusing the article, looks like there is a little more to think about than the headline. Seems to be a little bit of a pissing match going on between the union and the hospital, more than any outright homophobia on the part of management. All’s fair in labor disputes, eh?

  6. RichC

    Hey Lex — why don’t you try actually reading the US Constitution?The entire text of the FF&C clause (and not the bowlderized version that people interested in misrepresentation pretend exists) reads:”Full Faith and Credit shall be given in each State to the public Acts, Records, and judicial Proceedings of every other State. And the Congress may by general Laws prescribe the Manner in which such Acts, Records, and Proceedings shall be proved, and the Effect thereof.”Too many of you “conveniently” omit the bolded part.

  7. Anonymous

    The best part of the new breed of Republican is they trot out “state’s rights” and “let the people vote” when convenient, but are essentially monarchists on most issues (e.g. gay marriage, medical marijuana, and physician assisted suicide).

  8. Peter Porcupine

    But haven’t thirty states voted NOT to allow gay marriage? How is that monarchist?

  9. A.J. Cordi

    I agree that this is outrageous, but you have to see it that at least having same-sex marriage is a step forward. Things like this take time. As sad as that sounds, these things do take time…America will come around sooner or later! I hope!

  10. Anonymous

    re Peter’s comment. We’re not talking about the laws in other states. We’re talking about using the feds to circumvent the laws in *this* state. Other examples: Oregon and physician assisted suicide, California and medical marijuana, and Mitt trying to get people tried under federal law so the death penalty could be appplied.

  11. Lex

    richc: And people who want to ban gay marriage always forget to read the part where Congress can’t pass legislation allowing states to nullify portions of the Constitution (e.g., in this particular case, the equal-protection clause of the 14th Amendment). In fact, if memory serves, we fought a war about 140 years ago over just that principle.

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