Certainly, Mr. Craft didn't miss my point regarding equality and discrimination. Yet he basically ignored it and went on his own diatribe about my financial health in a personal attack. Then, attempted to change the argument away from my problem with the discriminating point of view of the senator to one of what companies can/can't afford. He also pointed out that people should be personally financially responsible (I agree with him on this one, by the way).
When I spoke of "doling out" benefits, I was responding to the senator's attitude – that the senator somehow feels entitled to judge my relationship less worthy and so would make a choice not to grant same-sex couples the same benefits granted others. I was certainly not personally expecting cash from the V.I. Gov't or private companies, but rather, the same benefits others receive. I think everyone else who responded to my initial comments got this point. I am sorry that Mr. Craft cannot understand why I am personally offended by the senator (he called me a "hypersensitive egoist"). This negative comment about my taking offense seem to suggest that I should be used to discrimination by now…having suffered it so frequently. Sorry, no can do. In fact, since Mr. Craft went out of his way to point out my profession, I will say that as a psychologist, a good deal of my work centers around helping people recover from this kind of abuse. Being called a "fag" on the playground hurt. The senator's adult version hurts just the same. The back of the bus is not a comfortable place for any discriminated group to sit…no matter how frequent an occurrence it is.
I spoke of my partner, living 51 years as a Type I Diabetic, as simply an example of how the senator's narrow-minded opinion can negatively affect real living human beings. In our particular case I suppose we could manage for a while without health insurance, but not forever. His health care bills have toped $150,000. After working his whole life and affording his own insurance with the aid of his employer, he is now in a COBRA situation. His insurance is going to run out. I am currently afraid to quit my half-time job because it does offer domestic partner benefits – and one day soon my partner will need them much more than I. Now to pan away from my personal situation, which is simply one human example, the greater point here is that there are potentially life-threatening situations caused by the senator's narrow-mindedness.
All of the other commentators besides Mr. Craft got the real point of my comments…equality and discrimination. The senator was making his stand against domestic partner benefits for same-sex couples for no other reason than to discriminate – it had nothing to do with whether private companies could afford them…that is entirely another argument. I find the senator's attitude deplorable and not representative of the Virgin Islands I have come to know and love.
To address Mr. Craft's point about who should pay for insurance, if one looks to private companies that have afforded it, you will see they can. Insurance is about spreading risk…adding the typical domestic partner to a plan is no riskier than adding the typical husband to a plan – and insurance companies do that all the time – in fact, the more people, the cheaper it is. To suggest otherwise is to not understand math. The initial increase in cost to the company by bringing more people into the plan can be spread around the other employees' portion of the bill, or, the domestic partner could pay the entire cost for the coverage (this second solution is not a good one because it is still discriminatory…but this is how my current employer does it – and that bill is almost $400 a month) – but this option is better than nothing.
Sidney W. Binks III, Ph.D.
And hopefully soon, F'sted, V.I.
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