Saturday, December 23, 2006

Who is for Fairness?

The British Daily Mail ran an article recently about two elderly sisters whose appeal to avoid inheritance tax when one of them dies was thrown out by the European Court of Human Rights. The two sisters were simply asking for the same rights as same-sex partners have to avoid the tax. But the court ruled that even though the sisters had lived together their entire lives, their relationship did not warrant a hearing.

"If we were lesbians," said one of the sisters, "we would have all the rights in the world. But we are sisters, and it seems we have no rights at all. It is disgusting that we are being treated like this."

Now cross the Atlantic (due West) back across the Appalachias to Kentucky, where we are debating domestic partner benefits at our state universities. Anyone want to wager on what would happen in a similar circumstance under the kinds of plans UK, UofL and NKU are discussing (and that UofL has already implemented)? Would two sisters who had taken care of each other their entire lives be eligible to receive benefits under these plans that give such benefits to live-in sexual partners?


One of the arguments used by proponents of these plans is, ironically, equity. Exactly what is equitable about a benefits plan that gives benefits to live in sexual partners, but doesn't give them to a live in blood relative who has lived with and been cared for by the employee their whole life?

Maybe would could found a group promoting "fairness" for these situations. Wait a minute, I guess that name has already been taken.

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