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November 25, 2005

Pensions a "civil unions"

From the New Jersey Star-Ledger...

[Lt. Laurel] Hester, a 26-year law enforcement veteran diagnosed with terminal lung cancer, wants her pension to go to her life partner, Stacie Andree. But the freeholders, citing cost issues, have refused to sign the paperwork to grant the benefits....

A group of gay and civil rights activists from throughout the state rallied outside the Ocean County Administration Building in Toms River yesterday to protest what they claimed was clearly an act of discrimination that New Jersey's Domestic Partnership Law of 2004 failed to prevent....

Freeholder John Bartlett, who held a news conference after the rally, said the board's decision had nothing to do with Hester's sexual orientation. "That is not an issue in this case. The question before the board of freeholders is one of finances," he said. 

While the county "has eminent respect for every employee," the board cannot use one employee's personal plight as a basis for setting public policy that affects finances. Such a change would have to come through contract negotiations, he said.

Obviously the purpose of a pension is so that a person can build up some money to live on after they retire. The purpose of allowing a spouse to continue receiving that pension once the one who earned it has died is based on the practice of men working and women staying at home, therefore it allowed a working man to earn an income for his wife if he were to die before her.  But the non-working wife needing the husbands benefits is the exception rather than the rule today. The need still exists, but only in a minority of actual cases.

Our own insurance (which my wife has me handle even though it's through her employer) has choices of benefits based on the need of the employee, and allows those without a family to have less benefits, and therefore less withholding for those benefits. It seems to work, and allows for the needs of one income families as well as single employees.

But in the case of Lt. Hester, who she is claiming to be in the position of "surviving spouse" is someone she's been with only six years and there's no mention of whether the "survivor" also has a career and a pension. That alone shows that the system is being abused by those that want something they don't need, and demonstrates how the concept of "Gay Marriage" would hurt American families if it became legal. It renders obsolete the traditional structure of a family thus robbing traditional families of the financial support they've always needed.

Posted by Danny Carlton at November 25, 2005 07:46 AM

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