Speaking the Language of Marriage: A Labor Perspective

Over its long history, the labor movement has stood up for the equal protection of all workers. In that same vein, labor is committed to the fair treatment of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender workers. Ending the unfair denial of full marriage rights to same-sex couples is necessary for workers to provide the security and stability of marriage for their loved ones.

The exclusion of same-sex couples from marriage is a labor issue. For couples that have worked their whole lives, the lack of access to marriage can deeply affect their economic situation. The inequalities facing same-sex couples are substantial when it comes to their ability to plan for their futures and pass on wealth. Unlike married couples, committed same-sex partners are denied the substantial Social Security spousal and survivor benefits earned by a deceased partner. Other disparities include health insurance coverage, tax-qualified retirement plans, and employee pensions.

 “Refusing to legally recognize same-sex relationships deprives thousands of families of the most important attributes of their labor; the ability to take care of and provide for their family members.

Opponents of working people's interests use marriage as a wedge issue to divide our strength.

Same-sex couples are devoted to each other, they love each other, they have kids and they love their families. Since marriage is the way the government provides protection, support, and respect for families, it's only fair that these families get those things too.”

— Pride at Work

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