More than half-60 percent-of readers participating in this week’s RBJ Daily Report Snap Poll disagree with Monroe County’s decision to appeal the same-sex marriage ruling.
County Executive Maggie Brooks last Friday said the county plans to appeal an appellate court ruling that out-of-state marriages of same-sex couples must be recognized legally in New York. All public and private employers statewide could be affected by the ruling.
“We must appeal this decision in order to protect Monroe County taxpayers,” Brooks said in a statement. “We cannot simply extend benefits to unmarried couples and we certainly cannot ignore the definition of marriage that currently exists under state law.”
A strong majority, 72 percent of respondents, oppose the taxation of domestic-partner benefits. Bausch & Lomb Inc., Eastman Kodak Co., Xerox Corp. and other firms are members of the Business Coalition for Benefits Tax Equity, which is pushing for the change.
Roughly 825 readers took part in the poll, conducted Feb. 25 and 26.
Do you support Monroe County’s decision to appeal the same-sex marriage ruling?
No – 60%
Yes – 40%
Does your firm or employer currently provide health insurance benefits to same-sex spouses?
No – 55%
Yes – 45%
Do you support ending the federal taxation of health insurance benefits for domestic partners?
No – 28%
Yes – 72%
If Brooks refused to collect county-imposed taxes from same-sex spouses, perhaps her refusal to pay benefits to same-sex spouses would have moral and financial credibility.
-Michael Leach, city of Rochester
We need to recognize that committed same-sex couples should have the same rights as hetero couples, whether we agree with them or not. I see that our personal and societal mores often lag behind the principles of freedom on which our country was founded.
-Marjorie Campaigne, Huther Bros. Inc.
Rochester at last census had the second-largest gay-lesbian-bisexual-transgender population per capita in the country. At a time when our city is attempting to re-imagine itself as well as keep young talented professionals, why would we even consider this?
-Brian White, MediSked
It is truly disheartening that as a LGBT member of the community I am openly discriminated against and not allowed to enjoy the same civil rights as my heterosexual brothers and sisters in my community. This is truly one of the greatest shames in modern history alongside the civil rights struggles of African Americans and women in U.S. history.
-Daniel P. Krist, JPMorgan Chase Bank
I do not believe that we as a state or other governmental entity are obligated to recognize any marriage, law or other civil finding which is contrary to our laws and was the result of actions taken in a different country to specifically sidestep our laws.
The same-sex marriage issue is a simple equal rights issue. All citizens deserve the same rights and benefits under the laws and constitution of this country.
Maggie Brooks’ press release was factually inaccurate, which shows her bias. The cost to the community is LESS in insuring all married couples since it lessens reliance on public support like Medicaid. Rochester has a chance to show leadership in ending workplace discrimination for legally married gays and lesbians. Maggie needs to withdraw her appeal.
-Joy M. Collins, North Coast Associates
It’s time for Monroe County to enter the 21st century. Recognizing same-sex marriage makes economic sense, and is the decent way for the majority heterosexual community to honor the rights of gay and lesbian citizens and voters. Monroe County has a lot more critical issues upon which to focus than this one.
-Pam Klainer, Klainer Consulting Group LLC
It is unfortunate that this administration has chosen to expend its resources opposing the extension of CIVIL-not religious-rights rather than focus on the real problems facing this community.
02/29/08 (C) Rochester Business Journal