News Gay Calculus
posted by January 25 at 18:05 PMon
I’ll post a much more detailed report on this year’s domestic partnership bill later (it would add 174 rights and obligations to the list domestic partners got last year—leaving 283 to go.)
For now, however, I want to flag a fascinating aspect to one set of rights in the bill that spotlights the political calculations of Olympia’s gay leaders.
The bill would grant rights to domestic partners of military veterans like access to vet benefits. Here’s the Catch-22. The bill only grants those benefits—like it does for married couples—to partners of honorably discharged vets.
Well, lots of gays have been dishonorably discharged for being gay—you know, discharged for the very reason they can’t get married and have to get a domestic partnership instead.
Rep. Jamie Pederson (D-43, Capitol Hill), who’s leading the charge for the DP bill on the House side, smarts at the irony of the conundrum, but has made a political call not to add a common sense fix to address that problem. (Certainly, you could clarify that if you were dishonorably discharged for being gay and for no other reason, then your partner should still get benefits). However, doing so, Pedersen worries, could be spun by conservatives as a “special right.”
That is: spouses of straights who were dishonorably discharged aren’t allowed to get any benefits so gays shouldn’t be allowed to either.