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Google’s Private Means to Promote Beneficial Social Change?

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 3:00 pm - July 4, 2010.
Filed under: Entrepreneurs,Freedom,Gay PC Silliness

Because I’m on a family vacation now celebrating my Mom’s 75th birthday with my siblings and niblings, I haven’t had nearly as much time as I would like to check the news, the blogs or even the comments to our posts.

When I first received the same e-mail Bruce received from our reader Peter Hughes about the pay adjustments Google is offering to gay and lesbian employees with domestic partners, I thought it was yet another piece of gay PC silliness. Yet, the more I thought about it, the less averse I became to the policy.

First, there does seem to be a certain inclination (among some segments of our culture, particularly in the part of the country where Google is headquartered) to bend over backwards to appease gay activists.  And I thought that was what was going on here.  And maybe it is.

I’m still not certain it’s a good idea, but then I’ve only had time to read snippets of Google’s justification for the policy.  That said, one thing I do know is that this is a private remedy to a (perceived) public problem.  It may seem PC on the surface, but, at least, we don’t see the heavy hand of government mandating this act. 

This is a private organization working independently of government to address a (what it sees as) imbalance in social benefits.  This may not be the solution we would have offered, but no one is coercing Google to make this concession.

In some ways, I see how this could a smart policy, a very smart one indeed.  There are many talented gay people in the technology industry and many with a more creative vision of further integrating that technology into our daily lives.  By offering this policy, Google makes itself a more attractive professional opportunity to such folk.  Indeed, it may well give them a competitive advantage as more and more search engines are coming online.

And those of who believe we must turn to the private sector to help promote the social changes we feel are necessary to make it easier for us to live openly as gay people in civil society should welcome such “experiments.”  

And if people don’t like ‘em, well, there are other search engines they can use.

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31 Comments

  1. I work for Toyota Motor Manufacturing in Kentucky and they have been receiving same-sex domestic partner benefits for years now.
    Because the federal government doesn’t recognize the domestic partnership Toyota has to report the dollar value of the benefits to the feds which then withhold the taxes as if I was paid that amount. It ends up costing me more than $300 per month in federal tax that a straight employee doesn’t have to pay for the same benefits.
    I applaud Google as a private business trying to protect it’s employees from an unjust tax burden.

    Comment by Steve — July 4, 2010 @ 3:31 pm - July 4, 2010

  2. I think any private company should be able to offer any pay/benefit package it wants to offer. I might be hit with increased taxes because my company pays 100% for my insurance which also covers my partner. I have a feeling my company will give me a “bump” to make up the difference.

    Comment by TnnsNe1 — July 4, 2010 @ 3:46 pm - July 4, 2010

  3. Watching you post on this while desperately trying to avoid admitting that the lack of marriage equality is the cause of the problem which Google is trying to remedy is kinda priceless. I am lucky enough to work for a company that does the same thing, btw.
    “PC silliness”? The federal tax penalty levied on partner benefits which directly results from our inability to get married is “PC silliness”? It’s one of the 1000 reasons why the lack of marriage equality penalizes gay couples compared to straight couples (cue “Clinton signed DOMA” GOP apologists).
    Far from being a touchy-feely issue, this is cold hard cash: straight couples can get married and not pay a tax on benefits they share with their partner; gay couples can’t. Think of that next time someone trying to rationalize rightwing demonization of gays tells you that gay marriage is “obsessing over a piece of paper” and “demanding social acceptance.” It’s about taxes. It’s about legal protection. It’s about our rights.

    Comment by torrentprime — July 4, 2010 @ 4:09 pm - July 4, 2010

  4. Watching you post on this while desperately trying to avoid admitting that the lack of marriage equality is the cause of the problem

    Wrong. The tax code is the problem. And the reason you adamantly refuse to admit that is because your own Obama Party blocked this exemption from being extended to non-spousal beneficiaries in the health “reform” bill. Know why? Because it would have decreased tax revenue, and they oppose that.

    Furthermore, torrentprime, your hypocrisy on this is laughable. You and your fellow gay-sex liberals who demanded “health care reform” insisted that people who earn more should pay more in taxes to fund health care. You screamed and whined about tax cuts for “the rich”.

    Know what the facts are?

    – For gay men, the median household income is $83,000 per year (gay singles $62,000; gay couples living together $130,000), almost 80% above the median U.S. household income of $46,326, according to US census data.

    – For lesbians, the median household income is $80,000 per year (Lesbian singles $52,000; Lesbian couples living together $96,000)

    You’ve screamed and whined that wealthy people should pay more, torrentprime. You’ve demanded that rich people should be taxed more heavily for health benefits.

    And here you are whining and crying that making you pay more for your health benefits is “unfair”.

    HYPOCRITE. This is even funnier than watching you crash and burn on the other threads.

    Comment by North Dallas Thirty — July 4, 2010 @ 5:14 pm - July 4, 2010

  5. And also, I would point out that the Obama Party, which owns and commands the vast majority of gays and lesbians in this country, has established the following mantras.

    – Richer people should be forced to pay higher taxes to pull the poor out of poverty

    Paying higher taxes is your patriotic duty

    Therefore, gay and lesbian people who rail against paying higher taxes, such as in this case, are unpatriotic and hate poor people.

    Now watch how quickly Rob Tisinai, Evan Hurst, torrentprime, and their fellows reverse themselves and argue that it’s the patriotic duty of gays and lesbians to pay higher taxes.

    Comment by North Dallas Thirty — July 5, 2010 @ 12:00 am - July 5, 2010

  6. torrent, amazing your response. It seems you come to this blog in order to vent whatever frustrations you feel in this world and not to engage us in the level of ideas.

    You don’t even address the points I made in the post to which you attach your comment, dwelling only on one category in which I chose to place it. I did that to keep it in at least one category that Bruce had placed his post on the same matter and because, well, maybe it is that. But, the actual text of the post suggests something different.

    So, please, if you’re going to attach your comments to a post, address the actual issues raised in that particular post.

    Comment by B. Daniel Blatt — July 5, 2010 @ 1:54 am - July 5, 2010

  7. Funny,

    Let me shut TP down simply. my place of business covers same and opposite sex partners. How do I know? Because I took advantage of it. Yes it’s considered income, and it’s applied equally whether you be same or oppposite sex partners.

    Google’s stance is perfectly fine for them to do, and I applaud it. But at the same time, too bad they discriminate against opposite sex relationships.

    Comment by The_Livewire — July 5, 2010 @ 9:06 am - July 5, 2010

  8. A few years ago, Social Security recipients received lower payments as married couples than they did as singles. So, in response to the government, granny and gramps divorced and lived in sin. The government changed the system and eliminated the stupidity of the payouts.

    For most of my working life, I have paid more taxes by filing a joint return and that “marriage penalty” will return when the Bush tax cuts morph into the Obama tax increase next year.

    The point is, this whole business of “gay friendly” is not the point. The point is the tax code is the point. Right now there is a “single penalty” regardless of your sexual orientation and there is a “couple living together penalty” regardless of the gender make up of the couple.

    It is illogical to say that it is not discrimination when a business singles out a particular class of employee to help offset the inequity of the tax code.

    But, I would like to return to a simpler time in the whole “discrimination” world. If there should be a “Gay Motors” where only gays design, produce and sell cars, I am fine with that. If a straight guy won’t buy the car because it is ” gay,” I am fine with that too.

    I can tolerate a lot of differences and distinctions. What I can not tolerate is state mandated and enforced diversity.

    Google has made a corporate choice which I think is poorly thought out. What are they promoting? Marriage? Gay equality? Restructuring the tax code? Fish and chips?

    My libertarian streak says let them do what they wish in the free market. My conservative streak says their business decisions which have a slight smell of discrimination are their responsibility. My small government streak says this whole thing need not rise to the level of a tempest in the teapot.

    Comment by heliotrope — July 5, 2010 @ 11:04 am - July 5, 2010

  9. But at the same time, too bad they discriminate against opposite sex relationships.

    Livewire, maybe so, but I still don’t see it that way. As it stands, an employee with an opposite sex partner has a remedy if he wants the benefits of a married person. He can marry his partner. An employee with a same sex partner does not have the same remedy. Google found a way that they believe is just for this inequity. If and when same sex marriage is federally recognized, and Google still only gives this benefit to non-married same sex couples (after a reasonable grace period), then I agree, it is discrimination.

    It is illogical to say that it is not discrimination when a business singles out a particular class of employee to help offset the inequity of the tax code.

    Heliotrope, if you really believe it is illogical, then you must believe the federal government discriminates against same sex couples by not recognizing same sex marriage.

    What are they promoting? Marriage? Gay equality? Restructuring the tax code? Fish and chips?

    Hmm. All of that sounds good. :-)

    Comment by Pat — July 5, 2010 @ 12:24 pm - July 5, 2010

  10. As it stands, an employee with an opposite sex partner has a remedy if he wants the benefits of a married person. He can marry his partner.

    Which is not the same as signing a domestic partner affadavit, which carries no real legal weight, has no relative impact on the assets of the individuals involved, and can be dissolved at more or less a whim without any impact to any of its participants.

    So Google is essentially saying that straight people must sign a binding legal contract with potentially huge penalties if it is broken…..but gay and lesbian people don’t have to do anything of the sort.

    That is discrimination. More hilariously, it is very likely illegal discrimination under California law, since it clearly discriminates in pay based on relationship status and sexual orientation.

    Comment by North Dallas Thirty — July 5, 2010 @ 12:53 pm - July 5, 2010

  11. That is discrimination.

    NDT, Google believes that it’s gay employees with partners are being discriminated against by the federal government. They apparently believe they came up with a solution that they believe is equitable. If one believes Google really tipped the balance of the scales the other way, then I see two alternatives that those who believe they are being discriminated against.

    1) Fight for same sex marriage.
    2) Fight for the elimination of all marriage.

    If and when same sex marriage happens, Google can then tell its gay employees, at that point, that if they want the same benefits as a married couple, then get married.

    Which is not the same as signing a domestic partner affadavit, which carries no real legal weight, has no relative impact on the assets of the individuals involved, and can be dissolved at more or less a whim without any impact to any of its participants.

    How could that be discrimination? If a straight person believes they are getting ripped off (because he doesn’t want to get married), then he can enter a DP with someone of the same sex. :-)

    More hilariously, it is very likely illegal discrimination under California law, since it clearly discriminates in pay based on relationship status and sexual orientation.

    If so, and if people are that bent out of shape about it, they can line up and petition the courts.

    Comment by Pat — July 5, 2010 @ 1:13 pm - July 5, 2010

  12. NDT…’Which is not the same as signing a domestic partner affadavit, which carries no real legal weight, has no relative impact on the assets of the individuals involved, and can be dissolved at more or less a whim without any impact to any of its participants.’

    Isn’t this the reason folk advocating for SSM; aren’t they looking for the benes and privileges of state and federal recognition?

    Comment by rusty — July 5, 2010 @ 1:35 pm - July 5, 2010

  13. The federal tax penalty levied on partner benefits which directly results from our inability to get married is “PC silliness”? It’s one of the 1000 reasons why the lack of marriage equality penalizes gay couples compared to straight couples (cue “Clinton signed DOMA” GOP apologists).

    Whoa-oh-oh! What’s love got to do, got to do with it?

    I’m truly befuddled when liberals selectively decide that taxes are a penalty rather than one’s duty. Clearly they believe in “higher taxes for thee, not for me”. Come January 1, Google will have to contend with higher marriage taxes, the AMT snagging 24 million more families, the Death Tax etc.

    Comment by ThatGayConservative — July 5, 2010 @ 3:42 pm - July 5, 2010

  14. NDT, Google believes that it’s gay employees with partners are being discriminated against by the federal government.

    No, they’re not. They are being treated exactly as does anyone who does not wish to marry an opposite-sex individual, for whatever reason.

    The next thing you’re going to come back with is how “unfair” that is, since gay and lesbian people “love” and are sexually attracted to only people of the same sex and shouldn’t be forced to marry people that aren’t what they prefer sexually to get benefits. Then you will get hit with two things:

    1) The list of gay and lesbian heroes like Jim McGreevey, “Bishop” Gene Robinson, and the like who were married and produced children with people of the opposite sex

    2) The fact that pedophiles prefer and want to have sex with children, incest practitioners prefer and want to have sex with their relatives, bestialists prefer and want to have sex with animals, and plural marriage practitioners prefer and want to have sex with multiple partners

    Comment by North Dallas Thirty — July 5, 2010 @ 5:42 pm - July 5, 2010

  15. No, they’re not. They are being treated exactly as does anyone who does not wish to marry an opposite-sex individual, for whatever reason.

    NDT, now Google is treating every employee who does not wish to have a CU/DP with a person the same sex the same. Anyway, as I stated above, there are two possible solutions to rectify the unfairness that you and I see.

    Then you will get hit with two things:

    Thanks for the warning. But the feather you hit me with didn’t sting. ;-)

    1) The list of gay and lesbian heroes like Jim McGreevey, “Bishop”[sic] Gene Robinson, and the like who were married and produced children with people of the opposite sex

    We’ve been through this road before. Because homosexuality has been frowned upon in the past, and we still have a ways to go (I mean, it’s 2010, and there are still parents out there who will not accept their children’s homosexuality, and there are people out there who still excuse that, go figure). As such, gay persons have sought to hide their sexuality, and have married persons of the opposite sex. While your response seems to imply that this is somehow okay, I totally disagree. We absolutely, positively should NOT encourage such marriages.

    And since gay people are capable of having sex with a person of the opposite sex, it stands to reason that the opposite is true. In fact, my understanding is that there are plenty of straight men (and women) in the porn industry that have sex with persons of the same sex. But again, I don’t see that such behavior should be encouraged.

    2) The fact that pedophiles prefer and want to have sex with children, incest practitioners prefer and want to have sex with their relatives, bestialists prefer and want to have sex with animals, and plural marriage practitioners prefer and want to have sex with multiple partners

    We’ve also been down this road before. And you will never convince me that, except maybe for the last example, the other categories are worthy of discussion, since relationships and marriage involve more than just one person. Polygamy, multiple partners is different, because that can involve consenting adults from all parties concerned. I personally don’t approve of such relationships, however, if Google wants to offer some kind of benefit to “equalize” things, that’s their prerogative. As such, I would agree with Google’s right to offer such plan, while personally disliking it. Whereas with Google’s current plan, not only do I agree with their right to do so, I believe it is just.

    Comment by Pat — July 5, 2010 @ 8:58 pm - July 5, 2010

  16. Pat,

    NDT is close to how I feel, but I take a bit different.

    My relationship with my partner was, odd, to say the least. It was platonic, but definately love was involved. I willingly took responsibility for her as her health declined, but since marriage is a sacrament to me (and was to her), to ‘take advantage of the bennies’ of being married would have required me to violate my beliefs. IOW, I was ‘discriminated against’ because of my Faith.

    Now that silliness aside, I don’t have an issue with the private company doing what google did. But to not call it discrimination is silly, since it does discriminate against people who were in relationships like mine.

    Essentially, Google’s statement can be seen as “Discriminating against this small group is bad, so we’ll compensate by discriminating against this smaller group.” Now again, discrimination in and of itself isn’t bad. I discriminate against dating men, for example. But to say “Discrimination is evil, therefore we’re going to discriminate against a smaller group!” is silly.

    Comment by The_Livewire — July 6, 2010 @ 7:39 am - July 6, 2010

  17. Because homosexuality has been frowned upon in the past, and we still have a ways to go….

    Stand back! The fuse on the powder keg has been ignited.

    Homosexual acts as business as usual in 7th grade sex ed?

    Gay sex ed teachers espousing gay sex?

    A gay marker discovered in early pregnancy?

    From my perspective, gays have been accepted more and more in society and that is as it should be. At the same time, society is only tolerant of gay sex that is kept private.

    There is a huge difference between acceptance of a person who is gay and acceptance of how gays go about their sexual acts.

    We have a park that is an active trolling ground around the men’s restroom. The community goes well beyond frowning on the problem. Meanwhile, in a nearby shelter, you can often find a man and woman meeting for lunch and away from their respective spouses. I suppose you could say that both “activities” are not the business of the government. But, I assure you, the complaints pour in about the men trolling around the men’s room, particularly from young men who are not flattered by the attention.

    Comment by heliotrope — July 6, 2010 @ 8:40 am - July 6, 2010

  18. Livewire, I get what you are saying. And I appreciate your personal situation and values. In fact, if I was in a similar situation, I would not get married or a CU either. However, if you really believe that what Google is doing is discrimination, then you have been discriminated by the government already because of your faith and values. Because there are perhaps other people who would have just gone to city hall and got married, and then they would have received the benefits.

    My understanding is that Google believes that is unfair that gay couples cannot marry. This is a remedy that they believe is just until federally recognized same sex marriage (or Fred – with the same rights as marriage) occurs. My assumption is that if and when this occurs, that Google will only discontinue this remedy.

    This may not be a great analogy, but I liken the situation to this. Suppose there was a flood, and people need to be rescued. One group of people have rowboats to get out, the other group, for some reason, was forbidden by the federal government to have rowboats. So Google offers to rescue only the group that doesn’t have rowboats. Ten or so years later, the same region is flooded. But now everyone is able to have rowboats. Google now says to both groups, use the rowboats to get out.

    Perhaps Google should just offer this remedy to straight couples as well. But since its apparently Google’s idea to get rid of this remedy once there is same sex marriage, they probably don’t see the sense in offering this remedy to straight couples.

    Comment by Pat — July 6, 2010 @ 8:51 am - July 6, 2010

  19. Heliotrope, I don’t disagree with much of your points. But my comment was in response to why gay people have and still get married to persons of the opposite sex.

    There is a huge difference between acceptance of a person who is gay and acceptance of how gays go about their sexual acts.

    Fair enough. However, there are parents that shun their children for being gay. Even when these children have accepted the values of their parents (not be promiscuous, don’t shove their sex lives in people’s faces, don’t troll for sex in parks and public rest rooms, etc.), just as their straight siblings have, they are still shunned by their parents. So while there is growing tolerance and acceptance of gay persons, we’re still not all the way there yet.

    Comment by Pat — July 6, 2010 @ 9:00 am - July 6, 2010

  20. Jonathon Rausch piece from last NY opionion in NYT:

    I say this knowing how deeply it stings gay Americans to let states make invidious choices. In June, my partner, Michael, and I married in the District of Columbia. But every time I commute from my office in Washington to my home in Virginia, my marriage magically dissolves like some matrimonial Cheshire Cat, because Virginia constitutionally bans any recognition of it. What straight couple would tolerate that?

    Shortly before we married, we visited a lawyer who explained that it would cost thousands of dollars to draw up documents protecting us in states that, like Virginia, treat us as legal strangers — documents making Michael my heir, giving him access to my hospital room, allowing him to make financial decisions should I be incapacitated. Even so, our pricey paperwork could replicate only a few of the perquisites of marriage, and only imperfectly at that. This is how second-class citizenship feels.
    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/07/03/opinion/03rauch.html

    Comment by rusty — July 6, 2010 @ 9:22 am - July 6, 2010

  21. Jonathon Rausch piece from last Saturday’s opionion in NYT

    Comment by rusty — July 6, 2010 @ 9:25 am - July 6, 2010

  22. this is a private remedy to a (perceived) public problem. It may seem PC on the surface, but, at least, we don’t see the heavy hand of government mandating this act.

    That’s true. I defend Google’s right to do it.

    But just because someone has a right to do something, does not mean it is the smartest move. Google’s solution doesn’t actually fix the inequality for its gay-partnered employees – because the gay couple is then further taxed on the additional income, as NDT has explained. So it’s ineffective. Google is basically taxing its shareholders (because they are the ones paying) to overcome the effects of bad government policy – ineffectively.

    If Google is that rich, as well as that PC, wouldn’t it be better to take the same money and lobby for proper changes to the Federal tax code, benefitting gay couples everywhere? Never mind lobbying for income tax reductions – which would also lessen the inequality here (or eliminate it, if income taxes were eliminated as they ought to be). Why is Google choosing a solution that pays the government as well as the employee, activing rewarding the government injustice?

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — July 6, 2010 @ 11:04 am - July 6, 2010

  23. I applaud Google as a private business trying to protect it’s employees from an unjust tax burden.

    I don’t – just because, while I agree that goal is laudable, they’ve chosen a perversely ineffective way of doing it. (See above.)

    The tax code is the problem.

    Exactly.

    Comment by ILoveCapitalism — July 6, 2010 @ 11:10 am - July 6, 2010

  24. Livewire, I get what you are saying. And I appreciate your personal situation and values. In fact, if I was in a similar situation, I would not get married or a CU either. However, if you really believe that what Google is doing is discrimination, then you have been discriminated by the government already because of your faith and values. Because there are perhaps other people who would have just gone to city hall and got married, and then they would have received the benefits.

    I don’t see it that way, to be honest. recognition of my partnership, whether it be by my employment or the tax code, doesn’t matter. The State (Federal Government) in this case has created a legislative recognition of a specific contract. The people have the right/power to extend or contract that through their legislative process (either by SSM, or Fred). Even then, there are going to be people who don’t take advantage of the recognition for whatever reasons. They aren’t being discriminated against, anymore than I am. One could argue the opposite actually, that it is the greatness of this country and freedoms that ‘non-traditional’ unions can be recognized and encouraged by private corporations. (Lets see Iranian companies offer Same Sex benefits)

    At the same time, Google is discriminating to address a specific aspect of their workforce. Private companies have been doing this for years via benefits. There are two good reasons that companies extend coverage to partners/children/etc. 1) By insuring the employee’s family, they insure the employee will lose less time to family illness. 2) If company A doesn’t and Company B does, who is the potential employee going to work for? Google is making a business decision that will keep their LGB employees interested in working for them, since they’re now Company B.

    Now you can’t argue that Google isn’t discriminating, because Adam and Steve are showing more salary than Adam and Eve. (Assuming Adam in both cases is the only one working for Google). It is an irony of discrimination laws that while the tax code may be biased towards Adam and Eve getting married, the only way to address the imbalance is, itself, illegal.

    Comment by The_Livewire — July 6, 2010 @ 2:01 pm - July 6, 2010

  25. From the Rausch opinion piece in the NYT as referenced by Rusty in #20:

    But the gay-marriage debate, while assuredly a civil rights argument, is much more than that. It is also a debate about the meaning of marriage, about the pace of change in a conflicted society and about who gets to decide. Whatever the activists on both sides say, nothing in the Constitution requires the Supreme Court to short-circuit the country’s search for a new consensus, either by imposing gay marriage nationwide or by slamming the door on it with an aggressively dismissive ruling. Sometimes the right answer for the courts is to step aside and let politics do its job.

    1. Marriage between one man and thirteen women under 15 is not “assuredly” a civil rights issue. One can scream “civil rights” over cannibalism, cannabis usage or canine and man copulation, but that does not mean a “civil right” is being impinged.

    2. The gay marriage debate is nothing if not a debate about the meaning of marriage.

    3. The gay marriage debate is certainly focused on the pace of change in a “conflicted” society. Perhaps it is the gays who are “conflicted” with a certain number of non-gays who just do not care and some libs who really want to help assuage any hurt feeling imposed by public morality.

    4. The gay-marriage debate is hardly about “who” gets to decide. If the courts order that same-sex marriage is legal, those courts will have to do a reasoning job that the gays have not been able to do. They will have to show why gays trump Islam and other traditions of plural marriage. There would a strong case for permitting arranged marriages involving children, as well.

    5. “Nothing in the Constitution requires the Supreme Court to short-circuit the country’s search for a new consensus…….” Aside from being a fatuous statement, it misses the point entirely. The Supreme Court does not sit in supervisory judgement. Although the average liberal would like the Supreme Court made up of progressives and act as a ruling junta, so far, we are safe from that possible reality.

    Part of the problem with discussing gay-marriage comes down to who is doing the discussing. I suspect that most gays have a much larger circle of gay friends than most straights do. I also suspect that the discussion of gay marriage among gays is far different than it is among straights. In fact, I suspect gay marriage is talked about far, far more often among gays than it is among straights. For the most part, I suspect that discussions about gay marriage among straights is seldom and not very comprehensive.

    I suppose Rausch gets high fives from the choir, but I also think that he has minimal impact on others. I continue to believe that Civil Unions are possible. But I also think many gays are pushing for gay marriage as some sort of state mandated respect.

    Comment by heliotrope — July 6, 2010 @ 2:31 pm - July 6, 2010

  26. The people have the right/power to extend or contract that through their legislative process (either by SSM, or Fred). Even then, there are going to be people who don’t take advantage of the recognition for whatever reasons. They aren’t being discriminated against, anymore than I am.

    Livewire, I guess I’m missing your point. I just don’t see how Google’s remedy discriminates either. Like you said, persons in situations similar to yours still have the option to marry. And as such, can receive such benefit.

    One area of such inequity I can see (and maybe this is your point), is that a gay couple in your situation will take advantage of the benefit, without even getting a civil union. Frankly, it’s not clear to me what a person in a same sex relationship has to do to try to get such a benefit.

    So, if that’s the case, I’ll agree that there is some favortism here.

    It is an irony of discrimination laws that while the tax code may be biased towards Adam and Eve getting married, the only way to address the imbalance is, itself, illegal.

    Yeah, there is definitely plenty of irony here. If what I’ve written above is correct, we do have an irony on how the lack of same sex marriage may favor some gay couples. On the other hand, Adam and Steve, who perhaps would marry if permitted, is still behind Adam and Eve, because as pointed out, they have to still pay taxes on the benefit. And they still don’t have any of the various benefits (from non-Google sources) that Adam and Eve have.

    As for illegal, maybe so. I don’t know what the federal law is, and the various state laws.

    Comment by Pat — July 6, 2010 @ 2:52 pm - July 6, 2010

  27. But I also think many gays are pushing for gay marriage as some sort of state mandated respect.

    Heliotrope, I can’t speak for all other gays, but I believe many of us want the same in marriage that you and other straight people have. Nothing more, nothing less.

    I suppose Rausch gets high fives from the choir, but I also think that he has minimal impact on others.

    That may well be true. Because the issues he described do not have to be faced by married persons. A case of “we have it, you don’t, isn’t that just too bad,” or something like that.

    Comment by Pat — July 6, 2010 @ 3:00 pm - July 6, 2010

  28. Pat,

    I think it is illegal (vs immoral) to compensate a gay employee for his benefits for his domestic partner where you don’t for a straight employee doing the same thing. Or to reverse it, if you paid the gay employee less because of his sexual orientation, that would clearly be discrimination.

    Comment by The_Livewire — July 6, 2010 @ 4:05 pm - July 6, 2010

  29. Livewire, I would find it hard to believe that Google didn’t retain a lawyer to look into the legality of their remedy, but it’s certainly possible that they didn’t. Another possibility is that they did hire such attorneys, told them it was legal, and what recourses were possible should they institute such a remedy. Maybe they got something else up their sleeve and are inviting a lawsuit.

    Comment by Pat — July 6, 2010 @ 5:26 pm - July 6, 2010

  30. Should be “told them it was illegal…”

    Comment by Pat — July 6, 2010 @ 6:37 pm - July 6, 2010

  31. That could well be, Pat.

    I’m of the belief that an unjust law is not automatically an invald law. If that were the case, we’d be ruled by what ever was ‘just’ at the moment. I also think that if Google is playing a long game and inviting a lawsuit, the fireworks should be entertaining.

    Prosecutor: “Your honour, as shown in Smith v Jones, the law clearly states….”
    Google Lawyer: *fires up Chrome” Your honour, I’d point out that the dissenting opinion of Judge Smails, who you clerked and caddied for, states the opposite.”

    Comment by The_Livewire — July 7, 2010 @ 7:19 am - July 7, 2010

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