Sunday, May 27, 2012

NC: Domestic partnership benefits in limbo

In North Carolina, cities and counties that offer domestic partner benefits to employees are in limbo after voters passed a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage.

In some other states, such amendments have led to the end of domestic partner benefits for public workers. And that's exactly what some families in North Carolina are afraid of.

Melissa, Moira, and Libby Hodges, left to right, pose in front of a Christmas tree.
Ever since voters approved the constitutional amendment on May 8, Libby Hodges has worried about what could happen to her family's health coverage. But she's trying to put on a good face for her 4-year-old daughter, Moira.

"Sometimes it just happens that way," Libby Hodges tells her daughter. "Like when you play a soccer game. ... If I lose or win it's okay."

Libby works for the city of Durham, one of nine local governments across the state offering domestic partner benefits. Moira is on her insurance plan. But since Libby isn't the little girl's biological mom, that benefit could end.

Libby's partner, Melissa Hodges, who gave birth to Moira, could add their daughter to her insurance plan. That would cost an extra $500 a month, a big hit to their budget. Melissa says they may have to move to a state where domestic partner benefits are assured.

"I'm going to stay on the lookout for jobs in all these various different places in Connecticut, Massachusetts and Maryland," says Melissa Hodges. "I was looking back at the list today of which states do we have all the same benefits and rights or at least as close as we can get."

More at NPR
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