May 03, 2005

Two disconnected thoughts

Ian Ayres lists the top six reasons why Connecticut's civil union rights for same-sex couples are substantively different from marriage rights. I don't know what this says about me or about my legal education, but my eye was caught by the lurking presence of my favorite (or not) federal statute, ERISA. Here's Ayres' #2:

2. The civil union statute may allow employers to deny benefits to same-sex couples who are joined in Civil Union but unmarried. "[B]y calling the status a “Civil Union,” a self-insured employer (and that includes most large employers) will have to amend its plans to include Civil Union spouses whereas married spouses would automatically be covered under self-insured plans that defer to a state-law definition of who is married." If the marriage exclusion were abolished, it is more likely that an employer would be prohibited from discriminating between same-sex and different-sex married couples.

Whatever virtues ERISA might have, providing common-sense regulatory outcomes is probably not one of them. Why, really, should the question of whether an employer is required to offer health insurance to the same-sex partners of its employees turn on whether its health benefits plan is self-insured or not? There's really no functional reason that I can think of.

Moving on: anyone who at any time in their lives has ever liked Rush, but who has rejected the group for whatever reason (succumbed to peer pressure, became a eunuch, or whatever) should check out some of the songs on Vapor Trails.

Earthshine is magnificent.

Posted by Carey at May 3, 2005 10:05 PM

You got the CD? Would you mind if a borrowed it for a little while tomorrow evening or so? Or are you planning to leave town by then?

Posted by: Larry at May 4, 2005 12:45 AM

I think I've got the CD; I'll check today and let you know...

Posted by: at May 4, 2005 08:30 AM