Senators Gordon Smith (R-OR) and
Charles Schumer (D-NY) recently
reintroduced the bipartisan Domestic Partner Health Benefits Equity Act, which
would eliminate taxes on the health benefits that U.S. businesses
offer to their employees' domestic partners, according to The Human Rights
Campaign (HRC). The bill was referred to the Senate's Finance Committee.
Under the current tax code, domestic partner benefits are treated as income,
creating an additional tax burden on both the employees using the benefits and
on the businesses providing them, HRC reported. "The strongest businesses
in the country offer domestic partner benefits because fair and equitable workplaces
are good for the bottom line. Making those benefits unaffordable through additional
taxes is bad for business, and it's
not fair to employees," said HRC President Joe Solmonese.
In the House, Representative Barney Frank (D-MA) introduced the Domestic Partnership
Benefits and Obligations Act, which would grant federal employees who are in
a committed, same- or opposite-sex couple access
to employee benefits such as health insurance and retirement programs. This
bill was referred to the Committees on Government Reform and Ways and Means.