Sunday, March 2, 2008

CALIFORNIA CONSIDERING MARRIAGE EQUALITY...BUT ALREADY VALUES ALL FAMILIES IN ONE IMPORTANT WAY

On Tuesday, March 4, the California Supreme Court will hear THREE HOURS of oral arguments in the cases seeking access to marriage for same-sex couples. With so much attention focused on California, it would be great for everyone to notice an aspect of California law that should be a model for all states -- including those with explicitly anti-gay policies. In California, a household member who depends on a worker's income can receive survivor's benefits if that worker dies on the job; marriage is NOT a prerequisite! Now that's an example of a law that values all families! The purpose of worker's comp survivor's benefits is to compensate someone for the loss of an economic provider; marriage is irrelevant to achieving that purpose. When openly gay San Francisco Supervisor Harvey Milk was assassinated in 1978, his surviving partner received these benefits. Marriage isn't the only way -- or the best way -- to assure economic security and emotional peace of mind for all families and relationships.

2 comments:

Emily said...

Dr. Polikoff,

Given your interest in family structure beyond marriage, what sort of outcome would like you to see in this case in California? What is the best case scenario for gay families and others outside of the paradigm of hetereosexual marriage?

Nancy Polikoff said...

I want us to win in California! Domestic partnership is a second class status and it's not equal. But the best case scenario is not to stop there and to...value all families as I describe in my book.