While I am sure the unnamed ski lodge will survive, the situation that Robin Hurni and Jeanne Williams is more serious. Because Hurni's employer does not provide health insurance for her partner (a benefit guaranteed to heterosexual couples), they are in a constant state of emergency.
Ordinarily, Robin Hurni and Jeanne Williams would have gone skiing last weekend.
The winter sport is one that the Denton, Md., couple once enjoyed. But because Hurni’s new employer won’t cover Williams’ health care costs, the skis were stowed.
“We’ve held back on doing activities because of the lack of health insurance,” Hurni said. “If she got hurt, what would we do?”
Now, if they were a heterosexual couple, the solution would be simple. Marriage would force Hurni's employer to cover Williams and the couple would continue to be productive citizens, unburdened by insane health care prices.
Hurni, a sonographer, said her job options are limited. And after taking $3,000 out of savings to buy health insurance for Williams last year, additional expenses are not feasible.
The couple is now earnestly searching for a remedy — and hoping that Williams stays healthy in the meantime.
“It’s a precarious position,” Hurni said. “We stand to lose the house if we don’t have benefits and something happens.”
However, because they are lesbians, they have no recourse. A medical emergency for Williams would incur a financial disaster much greater than missing out on two customers on a popular ski weekend.
Contrary to popular belief, there is no simple way other than marriage to guarantee family rights. Equality Maryland states:
Add to that list that without marriage, employers are not required to provide benefits such as health insurance to partners, even when they already provide these benefits for heterosexual spouses.
“Marriage Inequality in the State of Maryland” documents that without the ability to secure a marriage license, same-sex couples have no automatic legal right to:- Take Family and Medical leave to care for a sick partner
- Ride in an ambulance with a partner
- Visit a partner in a nursing home or hospital
- Receive Social Security benefits in the event of the death of a partner
- Sponsor a foreign-born partner to stay in the country
- Inherit jointly owned property without incurring crippling tax penalties
- Roll a partner’s pension into their own
- Make burial decisions
- Have the security of continued insurance coverage after the death of a spouse
- Take advantage of social services provided to help families cope with catastrophe, poverty, homelessness, or abandonment
Anything less than legal same-sex marriage is insufficient. Lets hope the court of appeals does the right thing.