Monday, June 07, 2010

Letter to DE State Representatives--06/07/2010--HS1/HB10

I sent the following to several state Representatives, regarding HS1/HB10 ( . Use, enter your 9 digit ZIP code to find out who your state legislators are. This bill needs your Representatives to hear from you TODAY!

I write to you today to urge your strong support for passage of House Substitute 1 for House Bill 10. This bill would provide access to health and retirement benefits to domestic partners of state employees (state’s actual cost would be paid by the employee, similar to COBRA access to benefits). Last week HS1 was included to the bill to remove the fiscal note, by shifting the financial burden for this employment benefit from the state to the state employee, so the bill no longer has a fiscal note.

I would like to stress that this is not even about equality, as spouses of state employees receive this benefit free and clear—this merely makes the state less unfair. These couples are forbidden from marrying or forming domestic partnerships/civil unions in Delaware. This maintains the ‘separate and unequal’ treatment for the LGBT citizens and employees of Delaware, but it makes it less unequal. Again, HS1/HB10 would not make life fair for these couples, but would reduce how unfair it is, at no cost to the state.

Some of your colleagues in the General Assembly may point to sensationalism (such as the recent topless sunbathing incident at Rehobeth Beach) to rationalize their opposition to HS1/HB10. Don’t be fooled. HS1/HB10 has absolutely nothing to do with condoning illegal activity, zero, nada. HS1/HB10 does one thing, it makes it more attractive (or at least less unattractive) to be a state employee in Delaware, and does so without additional cost to the state.

Please stand up for state employees and their families, and insist that HS1/HB10 come to the floor for a full vote and passage this week.

Thank you very much.

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