Civil Unions Discussion Nov. 13
November 7, 2007
The President’s Commission on the Status of GLBT issues invites you
to an open meeting Tuesday, Nov. 13, from noon to 1:30 p.m. in MUB 334 - 336
to discuss the impact of civil unions in New Hampshire on USNH employees, and
how a requirement to form a civil union might affect your ability to access
USNH benefits. Refreshments will be served.
Present at this meeting will be representatives from USNH and UNH Human Resources
and USNH general counsel’s office. They and the President’s Commission
want to hear your issues and concerns about this issue. If you are unable to
attend, you can direct any comments/questions to the commission co-chairs:
Cari Moorhead (email@example.com) or Judy Spiller (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Effective Jan. 1, 2008, civil unions become legal in New Hampshire. While
in many respects this will be an exciting moment for the GLBT community and,
hopefully, a significant step toward marriage equality, implementation, potentially
requiring those employees wishing USNH partner benefits to obtain a New Hampshire
civil union, it raises many questions for faculty and staff, currently or potentially
eligible for domestic partner benefits.
Among the challenges and issues is the timing of any proposed change – particularly
given the absence to date of New Hampshire guidelines on the law. Another relates
to whether those living in states that already offer civil unions or marriage
will automatically receive reciprocity from the state and USNH. At the other
end of the spectrum, it is unclear what might happen to benefits for those
living in states that don’t recognize civil unions. Further, there are
situations where entering into a NH civil union might create a significant
hardship: those with partners in the military; those seeking an international
adoption in some countries; those not US citizens; and those working only briefly
for a USNH unit, who, if then moving to a new state, would have difficulty
dissolving a New Hampshire union.
Civil unions are yet to be time-tested. Same-sex civil unions, registered
domestic partnerships and marriage – all steps in the right direction – still
do not afford the same privileges, rights and protections as does opposite
sex marriage. Legislative reversal in New Hampshire and others states that
offer civil unions, registered domestic partnerships or marriage to same sex
couples, could sweep them away. These factors, and those mentioned above, suggest
the need for a deliberative approach to any change in USNH policies, affecting
same sex partner benefits.
*Reminder: Tuesday, Nov. 13, follows a Monday class schedule.