Due to discriminatory tax policies that treat same-sex partner benefits as taxable income, University System of New Hampshire (USNH) employees who access same-sex domestic partner health benefits pay more for those benefits than do opposite sex partners.
According to the Human Rights Campaign, "as of 2007, employees with partner benefits pay, on average, $1069 per year more in taxes than would an employee with the same coverage for a different-sex spouse." That amount has certainly increased since 2007 given the dramatic increases in health benefits premiums.
By the end of 2011, my partner and I had paid an additional $15,535.09 in federal taxes imposed upon us because we access health benefits through USNH.
This isn't fair, and the USNH Board of Trustees knows it. They claim their hands are tied and that we have to wait for federal change on this issue. But this clearly isn't true -- progressive institutions including Syracuse University, Yale University, Gates Foundation, Apple, Facebook, Google, Jetblue, Unitarian Univeralist Association, Cisco, Discovery Channel, and others have enacted policies that create equity for their same-sex employees even in the face of government discrimination.
Together, let's tell the USNH Board of Trustees to stop turning a blind eye to discrimination by offering employees who use same-sex partner health benefits a reimbursement for the extra taxes they pay.
Discriminatory state and federal laws that treat health benefits for same-sex partners as taxable income force gay and lesbian University System of New Hampshire (USNH) employees who use these benefits to pay more in taxes each year than opposite-sex couples, whose partner benefits are not treated as income.
I'm calling on you to right this wrong immediately by reimbursing these employees for the amount they pay in state and federal taxes for providing health care for their families.
By doing so, USNH would join the growing ranks of progressive institutions -- including Yale, Google, the Unitarian Universalist Association, and Syracuse University --that have chosen not to look the other way while their employees are punished by discriminatory, anti-family policies.
Providing this reimbursement wouldn't make a moral statement against retrograde government policies -- you would also be making a material difference in the lives of your LGBT employees during tough economic times. I urge you to do the right thing as soon as possible.