Wednesday, July 22, 2009


Today I am signing up for some health/medical benefits at the ginormous, international company that I work for now. First, before I rant --let me just say that I love the people I work with and the company has been incredibly kind and accommodating.

But ... we are ginormous - and there is this huge HR machine. The company is teaming with HR folk.

In order to sign up my 'legal' wife on my benefits, even tho we have a legal marriage certificate, I still need to have papers notarized and show 'proof' of our relationship.
If I were married to a man I would need to show no proof at all. I would simply jot his name down on the web-form and click Submit.

Fine... fine... I'm gay... ok ok.

So I am making copies today... and I prepared a letter:

Attn: Benefits Team

Please find the enclosed documents:

  • a notarized copy of the Domestic Partnership Affidavit
  • and as proof of partnership I provide:

    • a copy of our valid/notarized Connecticut marriage license
    • a copy of our drivers licenses showing our common address
    • a real estate tax statement showing both our names on our property

Please note we have owned this home together for 21 years. We are listed as each others primary beneficiary on every account we have, we have joint bank accounts as well as credit cards, and our wills show each other to be the primary recipient. And our children refer to us as their ‘parents’.

Sadly, married same sex couples need to further prove their commitment past a legal marriage document. A document, which by the way, is not required at all when claiming an opposite sex marriage.

Please let me know if you need any other information from me.

Thank you,


The Sister-In-Law said...

Right on! Tell HR where to stick it.

e said...

I feel ya!

I went through the same thing getting my "domestic partner" on my insurance when she was laid off from her job. And, although they received forms and affadavits and whatnot from me, they just sent out a request for the same set of official documents from everyone claiming a domestic partner on their insurance...

My daughter, on the other hand, is not married to her boyfriend but he listed her as his wife so that she could get health insurance. No documentation needed!

And all of that doesn't begin to address the tax issues...

Jen said...

I love it, you rock!

Lizzie said...

I had the same problem, trying to put my wife on my insurance. I told the HR guy (who incidentally is gay and has a partner himself) that I wouldn't be asked to prove our marriage if I were straight. And he said, no, we do require it from everybody.
So then I asked around from people who had been married since they started at the paper. No, none of them had been asked to prove they married into a heterosexual marriage.

Oh, and then there was a lengthy process to prove it to my insurance company as well, but by that time, I'd begun the process of leaving my job, so I didn't bother. We never got my wife on my insurance. said...

Good for you! Gah, the double-standards are sooo infuriating!

My global company doesn't even allow me to put Jess on my insurance... married or no.

So there ya go.

Guy said...

Sounds like a class action suit to me.

eb said...

that really harshes my mellow, dude.

Lisa said...

As a former HR person, I nearly went to blows with my former boss about this very issue. Working for a "progressive" nonprofit, we offered domestic partner (Michigan has no same sex marriage yet) bennies. One person came out of the woodwork, and shyly asked if it would be ok if her partner enrolled. I said, "Sure, and I am gonna make this as painless as possible. That's my job." Because really, that's what HR people are supposed to do: help employees navigate complicated stuff like benefits. Anyway, the HMO we worked with only required that a brief affidavit (it was a very general form) be signed. There was no documentation required.

My BOSS, on the other hand, was all... "how do you know they aren't trying to commit fraud? Didn't you ask for any more proof?" I folded my arms, looked her square in they eye, and said, "No. We don't ask that of Heterosexual couples, do we?"

I'm sure I heard crickets chirping after that little exchange. And my career going down the crapper. Ahem.

Obviously, I didn't last at that job too much longer. But, I stood up for what was right while I was there, and made a difference.

Val said...

It's such B.S. good for you, but such a waste of time that you had to go thru all that and THEN write an informative letter... and you KNOW that it was just 'filed'.


Trish said...

We have run up against this. Our Domestic Partner Registry is notarized, as is the paperwork surrounding our marriage certificate.

What we have asked companies to PROVE is that they require, not just on paper, but in actions, that str8 couples must provide the same notarized forms, or the same 5 or 9 items in common to prove status. In no case has any company been able to prove it.

The last one to "require" it finally admitted, after we threatened them with HRC, the local GLBT community center and NCLR---finally said they'd this one time, accept our notarized Domestic Partner Registry paperwork to process our benefits.

When we also explain that any benefit my wife obtains for me is taxed as income for her federally, most people have no clue. Thankfully, California does consider us married and taxes appropriately.

I appreciate the benefits, but this underhanded discrimination can be too much to take. They'd like us to give up. I know I won't let "them" win.

KMae said...

Asswipe Motherfuckers.
All of them.

Go Weese!

Anonymous said...

I had to do much of the same bullshit to get Fran on my insurance. Nice letter, Weese. Well said without being over the top or belligerent.

weese said...

ah yes. see. there is no reason for anger or belligerence.
i would bet most of our HR reps have no idea. I am simply airing my disappointment in the system.
and informing at least one representative of the facts.

Trish said...

I don't get angry with them until they insist we have to do something like notarize a piece of paper stating we are married, something they don't require of str8s, and assume we are trying to jilt the company. We're just trying to get benefits and haven't been married for 18 years.

Seriously...let us bring in the marriage certificate, or the domestic partnership registry, or a well laid out agreement (what we had before any of the aforementioned things were even a possibility) stating our relationship and responsibilities. Anyone that would go thru that much to "defraud" the company's insurance probably has a good reason for it and has already done a lot of work to get there.

to whit, repeal DOMA which would hopefully tear down some of these walls and impediments.

but, I do reserve the right to say bad words when having to deal with this b/s.