Monday, October 19, 2009

Pride in My Workplace and Dewey & LeBoeuf Host “Marriage Equality: What Employers, Employees and Insurers Need to Know”

Last Thursday evening, Pride in My Workplace and Dewey & LeBoeuf hosted a panel on marriage equality that drew 80 participants from dozens of law firms; financial, consulting and insurance companies; and media, pharmaceutical and energy firms. The Pride Agenda’s Ross Levi and Lambda Legal’s Thomas Ude gave an overview of marriage law and marriage recognition in New York and across the country. Pride Agenda Board Member and Pride in My Workplace Co-Chair Marla Hassner outlined the differences between marriage, civil unions and domestic partnership laws and their impact on employee relations.

First Deputy Superintendant Kermitt Brooks, from the NY Department of Insurance, outlined the effect of New York State’s marriage recognition policy on different sectors of the insurance industry. Dewey & LeBoeuf’s partner Mitchel Pahl articulated how federal ERISA (Employee Retirement Income Security Act) protections of employees and their families are turned into the opposite by the Defense of Marriage Act, which prohibits federal recognition of same-sex marriages. He also outlined the disparate federal tax burden faced by same-sex couples whose employers provide same-sex spouse or domestic partner health benefits. This disparity is due to the lack of federal government recognition for any of the legal categories that currently apply to these families.

For more information on the activities of Pride in My Workplace, contact the program's coordinator, Wazina Zondon at (212) 627-0305 or

Pride Agenda Board Member & Pride In My Workplace Co-Chair Marla Hassner and Pride Agenda's Director of Public Policy & Education Ross Levi

First Deputy Superintendant Kermitt Brooks from the NY Department of Insurance and Dewey & LeBoeuf partner Mitchel Pahl

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