Thursday, September 24, 2009

One Week Away from Progress

Today's the deadline. When today ends, pre-registration ends. And from there, it's the final week until SB 283 becomes law.

Nevada is moving forward, and here's what to expect in only one week.

A while back, I wrote about what the new domestic partner law means for LGBT families (and unmarried straight couples) in Nevada. And yes, there are plenty of positive changes on the way. Adoption will be made easier. Family medical decisions will be made easier. State tax benefits and community property laws will now apply to domestic partners.

Simply put, our lives and our legal paperwork will be made much easier thanks to the new domestic partnership law. So why am I not totally jubilant about this? I actually am happy to see progress, but I know this still isn't full equality.

For one, there's only an "opt-in" policy for employers to provide health insurance benefits to domestic partners. They're allowed, but not required. So while those fortunate enough to work for private companies like Wells Fargo or government agencies like the City of Las Vegas that already provide benefits need not worry, for everyone else there's no guarantee that their employer will start providing benefits when SB 283 officially becomes law.

And of course, we have the feds and DOMA to deal with. Of course, the good news on the horizon is that the Respect for Marriage Act has been introduced in the House. However Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-NY), who coauthored the bill, has said that his bill does not address civil unions and domestic partnerships. So even if Nadler and friends are successful in repealing DOMA, Nevada's Domestic Partnerships still won't be eligible for any federal marriage benefits.

So what do we do? For now, we celebrate our progress. We make sure our allies are reelected next year so we can expand on this progress.

And in the mean time, we can also help the Approve R-71 campaign in Washington. Our neighbors way up to the north instituted similar comprehensive domestic partnerships, but they're now under attack from the radical right. The poll numbers for likely voters are close, so we need to help our friends up north turn out as many progressive allies as possible next month (when early voting starts) to preserve the domestic partnership law.

Hopefully one day in our lifetime, we'll see full civil marriage equality in Nevada and nationwide. We need to keep fighting for full equality on all levels for everyone in our community. But in the mean time, we can celebrate our progress so far and keep a watchful eye to make sure the far right doesn't set us backward as we keep making progress.

No comments:

Post a Comment