Friday, June 6, 2008

First Experience of Marriage Discrimination

Well, ouch. I'm having my first experiences with the consequences of being unable to legally marry C.

I have been hired by a company and received several phone calls yesterday regarding plans for my relocation to begin employment in August. The company (or, rather, the relocation company that my employer contracts with) informed me that they will provide a lump sum of cash to facilitate my trips to the city to find a place to live--hotel stays, meals, gas money, etc. The dollar amount of that lump sum is significantly larger ($500 larger, in fact) if I will be married by the time I begin employment.

Yes, I told the company, I will be married before beginning employment.

Okay, they said, just send us a copy of your marriage certificate.

Well, I said, I'm not having a civil marriage--just a religious ceremony.

Okay, they said, we'll check and see if religious marriage is sufficient.

The company called back later and said "no." I must have a marriage certificate to receive the married benefit.

Hmm. I'm tempted to call them back and appeal to the nondiscrimination policy my employer has regarding LGBT employees. I could send them copies of the 6 legal documents C and I have had prepared to secure as many legal rights as we can. C and I could also register in our town as "domestic partners" (our town, Urbana, is one of only two cities in Illinois that have such registries. Quiz: what is the other city? Hint: it isn't Chicago)

But I'm wary of starting a snafu with the company just as I am beginning employment--particularly if my new boss is personally opposed to LGBT people. I don't want to get off on the wrong foot. I don't want to come across as greedy.

On the other hand, I don't want to be treated differently. It hurts a little to be informed that my relationship with C is not as important as my cubicle-mate's relationship with his wife. :-/

C will be traveling with me to the city to search for a new location. That's twice as many people in the hotel rooms, twice as many meals, and two butts in the car during the travel to and from the city. The extra $500 is probably more than we need, but it sure would be nice.

Ultimately, I think I'm gonna sit on my hands on this one. Am I selling out?


UPDATE: I decided I was acting (or rather, not acting) out of fear. Asking myself, "what would I do if I had no fear?" I again contacted the relocation company and asked if I would be granted the marriage benefit if I supplied them with copies of a city of Urbana domestic partner registry. The person I contacted said she would contact management and get back to me. That was near the end of the business day on Friday. I'll keep you posted.


Charity said...

very unfair. Are you and C going to register in Urbana at least?

Intrepid Wanderer said...

It should be noted at my current employer SSDP are allowed.

Joe Moderate said...

For better or worse, I just emailed the relocation company to ask whether a registered domestic partnership with the city of Urbana will suffice.

I've been careful not to say that I'm gay, but only to say that I will not be getting a civil marriage license.

D.J. Free! said...

bro, you are so NOT selling out! we have to walk that fine line of being patient w/ our counterparts to catch up, while not being obnoxious about it all.

it totally sucks. and i'm sorry :(

hey, i wonder if they would recognize a marriage license from another state? like say CA or MA? :)

TweetyJill said...

I already told you what the best solution to this dilemma is. But then again, you never listen to me. :-)

Is Champaign the other town?

Newscrazy said...

I never knew about this--how did it turn out? -Phil