Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Va. Employers Can Now Offer Life Insurance to Partners of Gay Employees

How did this one get in under the radar? Is Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell softening his position on LGBT rights or is this just a ploy to make himself look less hateful in the wake of his recent string of homophobic policies?

It's more likely that Taliban Bob is feeling the a sense of urgency over Northrop-Grumman's yet to be announced decision on where to relocate their corporate headquarters. The company announced plans last year to relocate to the DC metro area. There has been a lot of pressure on the aerospace giant from LGBT rights groups to avoid Virginia due to our homophobic laws and instead choose the more queer-friendly environments of either Maryland or the District of Columbia.

From dcAgenda:
A bill enabling Virginia companies to offer life insurance benefits to the same-sex partners of employees became law earlier this month after Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) signed the measure.

The new law, approved by both chambers of the Virginia General Assembly with unanimous votes, was enacted after McDonnell signed it April 7.

Stacey Johnson, a McDonnell spokesperson, said the governor signed the bill into law because it passed with broad bipartisan support in the House and Senate. “In addition, it will have no fiscal impact on Virginia’s taxpayers,” she said. “The governor believes a decision about who an employer can extend life insurance coverage to should be made by the group policy holder and the insurer.”

Previously, state law permitted Virginia residents to take out group life insurance coverage only for a legal spouse or a child under age 25. But the new statute, which takes effect July 1, broadens that group of people to include anyone with whom a Virginia resident has a substantial and economic interest, including a same-sex partner.
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