North Carolina Faces Lawsuit from Same-Sex Couples with Health Concerns
Same-sex couples in North Carolina are fighting to obtain equal rights to health care and benefits.
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) is launching a new legal case against North Carolina’s ban on same-sex marriage. The ACLU is urging a federal judge to negate the ban, and this time, there’s more to it than just the freedom to marry.
In 2012, a lawsuit was filed by a lesbian couple who had adopted a boy with cerebral palsy. Because North Carolina didn’t (and doesn’t) recognize the couples’ marriage as legal, their adopted son wasn’t (and still isn’t) able to get the care that he needed due to various issues with insurance and adoption rights.
Tami Fitzgerald, the executive director of NC Values Coalition, doesn’t believe that marriage rights and adoption should go hand-in-hand. “While we sympathize with these individuals about their poor health, that is not a reason to re-define marriage,” Fitzgerald said in a statement.
The current lawsuit was filed on behalf three other lesbian couples who are facing urgent health concerns, and due to the state not recognizing their marriages, the women don’t have the same access to insurance, inheritance and tax benefits.
Currently, in North Carolina, if one member of a same-sex couple passes away, the surviving spouse would be denied the death benefits that are provided to other married couples.
The protections being asked for include benefits related to retirement, insurance, taxes and inheritance. “Without the legal security that only marriage affords, these families are left vulnerable,” said Jennifer Rudinger, executive director of the ACLU of North Carolina.
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