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Same-sex partner benefits attacked as part of Big 3 bailout

By |2018-01-16T09:25:26-05:00December 11th, 2008|News|

Conservative activists at http://www.RightMichigan.com have started blogging about a “cost saving” idea for the Big 3 bailout: Eliminate same-sex partner benefits. The pundits at http://www.RightMichigan.com argue the elimination of the benefits would save the Big 3 auto companies $125 million annually.
This online dialogue is taking place while the Big 3 have been in Washington, D.C. seeking a financial loan package to help them weather the current economic climate and avoid bankruptcy. For G.M. bankruptcy looms as early as the end of this month.

The “cost saving” idea is not sitting well with LBGT leaders.
“To suggest that telling gay and lesbian employees ‘your families can’t go to the doctor anymore,’ lacks basic human dignity,” said Daryl Herrshaft director of the Workplace Project for the Human Rights Campaign.
“The UAW fought for domestic partner benefits at all three automakers almost a decade ago. To think that the Big 3 can balance their books by discriminating against gay and lesbian employees is like trying to improve fuel efficiency by reviving the Model T.”
On http://www.RightMichigan.com, Eric T. posted the following comment supporting the idea of benefits elimination, “The big 3, now more than ever, needs to save some cash. In the traditional family – the man goes to work and the wife stays home. You can see why the family benefits are needed. With two guys – they should both be out working. There really is no excuse for one guy to be staying home and needing a near bankrupt company to pay his benefits. You’d think they’d be looking to trim the fat, and save some cash, where ever they could. Put real families that really need family health care plans first.”
APackof2 at http://www.RightMichigan.com, who wrote the original idea of benefits elimination, estimated the same-sex domestic partner enrollment at over 93,000 people, claiming it to be two-percent of the 446,000 employees covered by the agreement. The actual number, based on the math, is 8,920 people.
The right wing blogosphere has argued that elimination of the benefits will cut an estimated $125 million from the Big Three automakers costs. The three auto companies were seeking $34 billion in assistance loans, and have apparently agreed to $15 billion in loans.
Joel Silberman, an openly gay political consultant in Washington D.C. said, “I was aware of it (the attack on same-sex benefits) and I am very much concerned about it. All citizens are equal in America. If we are not treated as equal citizens, I am very concerned about that. But I am not surprised. Are you honestly surprised the right-wing is once again gravitating towards the social issues to show we are a center right country, which we are not? This is one of the things they will do. It’s a wedge. It’s electoral politics in many ways. It’s a way to get a foot hold into something that looks like they are being reasonable when they are not and its our job to push back as hard and as fast as we can.”
In addition, Silberman said the economic “disaster” facing the new administration, including the state of the nation’s largest automakers, is going to impact the movement of LBGT issues.
“I don’t think I can be realistic and say I expect the LBGT agenda to move when there is economic disaster in front of us,” he said. “This administration must deal with it and must deal with it head on. I think its going to trump so much of what we all want to see happen.”
“So I dont think the first 100 days are my marker. But my marker is I expect him to be here eight years and we have to do a lot in the first two years to make that viable,” he said. “In the first two years, if we don’t see things like the repeal of DOMA and we dont see some more support for basic civil rights that make all citizens equal citizens, it’s very much about equality and very much about fairness, and it is very much about removing anything that stops that from happening. And that I demand from my president.”

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