Call it a Christmas present for gay and lesbian couples. President Bush signed the Worker, Retiree and Employer Recovery Act of 2008 (WRERA) two days before Christmas. The new law makes it mandatory for businesses to roll over retirement benefits to a same-sex partner in the event of the employee’s death.
Previously, employers could decline and surviving same-sex partners would have to pay tax on the inheritance of the deceased partner’s retirement savings. Legally married heterosexual couples automatically avoid that tax penalty.
National LGBT rights groups hailed the move. â€œThis legislation secures much-needed protection for lesbian and gay couples,â€ said Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese. â€œOur community faces unique challenges in preparing for retirement because we are denied Social Security spousal and survivor benefits. Protecting our hard-earned retirement savings is even more crucial to us, and until now, the tax code made it that much harder.â€
How interesting that this hasn’t been well-reported.Â Why?Â Because by signing this into law, President George W. Bush has, by law, done more for gays than any other President in history.Â Â President William Jefferson Clinton, on the other hand, signed two laws (DOMA and DADT) that put gay rights progress into full reverse.
Bush increased American gay rights, Clinton took away American gay rights.Â Facts are facts.
Ah, the irony.
So, thank you President Bush.Â This is actually a solid real-world benefit for same-sex partners across the USA.
[RELATED: Here’s a primer on the new law (WRERA 2008).]