Tuesday, November 08, 2005

The Lone Star Hate

Let's say Britney Spears and that guy she married in Vegas on a whim now own a home together in Texas. For the sake of modesty, let's say it is worth 300K. And let's say that instead of divorcing after a day of marriage, Britney is hit by a bus. She holds on for awhile, and her husband of one day is by her side every minute he isn't smoking and drinking a Redbull out in the lobby. Eventually, she passes on. Because they are married, the house may immediately pass to him with no tax effects. He is automatically responsible for many of the decisions that surround the end of her life--where she is buried, any choices regarding life-sustaining issues, etc.

Now, let's say that a couple like John and I live in Texas and own a home of similar value. They've been together for 40 years and one of them is now in ICU and is about to die. Uh-oh, only next of kin are allowed in ICU. But fortunately, the nurses there understand the situation and are willing to let the spouse be by his dying partner's side. Unfortunately, the FAMILY of the soon to be deceased have never accepted his relationship and exercise their legal right to refuse the partner's visits. The sick man dies in ICU without ever seeing the one with whom he's spent the last four decades of his life.

The house they owned will not automatically pass to the survivor. It may be willed to that spouse, who then will have to pay taxes on their dearly departed's half. So while the surviving spouse is grieving he has the added joy of coming up with about 15,000.00 to pay on top of whatever financial burdens they are dealing with. This goes for any property they owned together. Any property they didn't own together, even if they shared it for 40 years may be claimed by the family in the absence of a specific will.

But wait, there's more. Let's say the surviving spouse works for the Hate of Texas. Since the Hate will never recognize anything that even looks like marriage, any right-wing conservative Hate employee who happens to be a manager is not obligated to offer any bereavement benefits. So, the survivor can say goodbye to that vacation time he was going to use to recover later. That will be used up for funeral and whatever preparations he is allowed by the family to be a part of.

Oh, and by the way, while the dearly departed was alive, his company offered domestic partner benefits like health insurance to their family. But they aren't like those that married couples get. Taxes must be paid on any non-married domestic partner benefits. And of course the Hate isn't even allowed to offer them. If the Hate of Texas is like the Hate of Michigan (and remember, Texas is a big hate) the right-wingers will actually attempt to repeal those that already exist, even those at state universities.

You may think I overreact to votes like this, but all of the above (with the exception of the Britney scenario) happens constantly. Does it surprise you? It shouldn't. With 70 to 80% voting not to allow the legal incidents of marriage, what else would you expect? And it is actually a LOT worse for poor families who can't afford the legal fees or the time off to work things out to the point that they are described above. They have almost no way to protect the ones they love. When one of them dies, legally it as if they were never together.

Oh, well. I never really wanted to live in Texas again anyway.


Blogger closetliberalintx said...

Sorry that our votes didn't do much to sway the hate in Plano. The Morning News showed some great arguments to vote against the amendment but I'm afraid not many people read down here.

8:26 PM  
Anonymous jperkins said...

Exactly right about not wanting to live in Texas again. And I'd rethink living in Indiana as well. You and John should move to a progressive state and take your disposable income with you, hitting the Republicans and their supporters in the only place that matters to them - the bottom line. I mean, legislating misinterpreted and homophobic teachings of Christ is one thing; losing your tax base and customers is something else entirely.

4:38 AM  
Blogger Troy said...

Ben, your votes may not have swayed hate, but it was still so important that you did vote. And I appreciate that you did.

Jason, talk to John about moving.

11:37 AM  

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