This blog continues to be inundated with visitors from all over the globe. Welcome to all who land here! Check out the chart of visits from before and after this ruling. It’s AMAZING!
The past few days have been nothing short of amazing. I have received countless emails at work, every one supportive and congratulatory. One I received this morning said:
Congratulations – and thank you for pursuing this struggle on behalf of so many others. We fought and lost a similar case in the UK (see equalmarriagerights.org). The UK legislature and judiciary system watches the USA, and so your case has international importance. Thanks again!
An equal number of staff and faculty have poked their heads in my office to offer congratulations as well. I have to confess to not answering my phone when a double ring comes in (which indicates it’s coming from off-campus); I’d never get anything done if I answered the phone right now. Besides, a lot of the calls are from news agencies and local reporters and my lawyer wants all of them to go through him. He’s good at weeding out the butt-heads.
I have jokingly commented in the past few days that I’m surprised that the Westboro Baptist Church hasn’t been camped out on my front lawn. Perhaps the heavy rain and cold have kept them away. Perhaps we’re not sensational enough for them…yet.
The Director of HR called me yesterday morning, almost first thing. She indicated that she and the college community would be looking to me to help the college make the positive steps required to comply with this ruling. I conceded to her that this was going to be a painstaking process and that a lot of legal questions remain unanswered regarding the tax implications and other issues. I suggested to her that we convene a panel with representatives from the Student Government, the civil service union, the faculty union, the comptroller’s office, and HR, for starters. This panel could “brainstorm,” for lack of a better term, and put together an item list of things that will need to be addressed — things like forms, taxes, retirement benefits, tuition waivers, etc.
As usual, I got a dismissive reply of “Thanks for the suggestion.” I stewed about that all day yesterday and, this morning, decided that I’m going to convene that panel, with or without her. This is no longer a “back burner” item.
I also spoke with the Executive Director of the Gay Alliance of the Genesee Valley and made the same suggestion, also suggesting an FAQ page for their web site. This ruling is going to create a lot of confusion and there are going to be a lot of questions that need answers.
I suspect that there are a lot of state agencies in turmoil right now as well. The NY State Department of Taxation and Finance needs to look at their regulations regarding the taxation of those benefits that once were considered merely “domestic partner” benefits that are now full spousal benefits. Insurance companies that do business in NY State will most likely have to provide insurance to same-sex couples, whether their corporate regulations allow it or not (it’s the price of doing business in NY). Medical facilities will have to change their regulations regarding next-of-kin and “immediate family” definitions. Even the YMCA, which has resisted including same-sex couples in their definition of “family” will have to comply.
Yes, this ruling opens a huge can of worms but it wouldn’t have done so had these agencies and corporations not discriminated and tried to insulate themselves from treating people fairly and equitably.
An op-ed appeared in this morning’s NY Times:
In a decision at once common-sensical and profound, a New York State appeals court ruled Friday that same-sex marriages validly performed in other jurisdictions are entitled to recognition in New York. It was common sense because it simply accorded same-sex marriages the same legal status as other marriages. It was profound because of the way it could transform the lives of gay people.
… the ruling marks important progress toward changing laws and attitudes that deprive gay people of equal rights and deny the dignity of New York’s many gay families. They should be able to live, marry and raise children with the same respect and the same rights as anyone else.
I’m going to put up a page over =======> there, under my Meez picture, to begin a list of questions that will need answers. Please feel free to contribute to it.
Be sure to get out and vote in those primaries today. It’s important.
Finally, in light of the recent court ruling, I thought I’d bring back an old favorite of mine entitled Where’s My Gay Apocalypse? Once I get the author’s permission to publish it, it’ll be here in an update of this post.
In the meantime, you can enjoy it here.