Friday, February 06, 2009

Looking for Sources on Gay Marriage Story

Sorry to have abandoned the blogosphere for two days -- it's been a little hectic. Yesterday I was on The Strategy Room again (briefly with Gov. Mike Huckabee), then I had to interview Jeff Jarvis for New York on the occasion of the release of his book, What Would Google Do? Then it was home to do some work -- and see and review Ragtime last night here in the 'hood, at the Astoria Performing Arts Center. Today I had some networking meetings and had to finish a long Q&A with Michael Cerveris for an upcoming issue of The Sondheim Review.

I still have my review of Ragtime to write, but I'm also working on an idea for a non-arts-related story at the moment and I'm looking to develop some sources. I've put out the APB on Facebook and I've twittered, tweetered and twitted, but I wanted to put this up in case anyone hasn't a clue what I mean what I write that.

Here's what I've been using in my search for potential sources. I've eliminated all use of names to protect my friends' identity:

Friends of ours are together 19 years. They planned to marry in Massachusetts this fall on their 20th anniversary. One was recently downsized from his company.

This person, of course, can use COBRA for his health insurance. His partner, meanwhile, who is still employed, asked his HR for its policy on gay marriage and was first told he could not cover his partner under health insurance even if they married legally in Massachusetts. As the cost of covering a spouse on health insurance turns out to be cheaper than COBRA, some pressure was applied to the employed partner's company, which eventually modified their position. So now they head to Massachusetts to get married next week.

To be sure, these guys unquestionably love each other. They own property together; they have spent most of their lives together. But the deteriorating economy forced their hand -- to marry on a schedule partly dictated by fiscal necessity.

I aim to identify other gay couples in New York State who are also marrying, in part, due to fiscal concerns. Not just for these reasons, but those for whom it exists as a factor.

I also seek clarification regarding New York State's view of the following: If you marry in Massachusetts, New York State now recognizes that marriage. Can a private company doing business in New York State that permits heterosexual employees to cover spouses with health insurance also gay spouses that privilege? Are there examples of this? Is there any case law on this? Indeed, if this is the case, what are the gay-rights organizations doing about it?

Please send ideas and/or sources as soon as possible. Thanks!

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