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Letter to the Editor: On Same-Sex Domestic Partner Health Benefits

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December 14, 2011

USNH employees who access same-sex domestic partner health benefits pay more for those benefits than do opposite sex partners. According to the Human Rights Campaign, (HRC.org), "as of 2007, employees with partner benefits pay, on average, $1,069 per year more in taxes than would an employee with the same coverage for a different-sex spouse." That amount has certainly increased since 2007 given the dramatic increases in health benefits premiums.

By the end of 2010, my partner and I have paid an additional $13,518.12 in federal taxes (and $2,566 in state taxes) imposed upon us because we access health benefits through USNH.

USNH Board of Trustees are aware of this inequity and unfair work practice. They say that their hands are tied and that we have to wait for federal change on this issue. THIS IS NOT TRUE. Progressive institutions (Syracuse University, Yale University, Gates Foundation, Apple, Facebook, Google, Jetblue, Kimpton Hotels, Unitarian Univeralist Association, Cisco, Barclays, Discovery Channel, and others), have enacted policy that provides equity for their same-sex employees who face this inequity and discrimination in the workplace.  Syracuse University instituted their policy in 2010, with overwhelming support from their Chancellor and Board of Trustees. The cost to implement the policy was $26,000 for their entire university system.

If you believe in equality and fairness for all USNH employees regarding this issue, please considering signing the below petition that I created. It will be sent directly to all USNH Board of Trustees.

http://www.change.org/petitions/usnh-stand-up-for-your-employees-in-same-sex-partnerships

Thank-you,

Peter Welch
UNH Health Services