The Baltimore Sun

Same-sex partners face unfair tax burden

I was encouraged to read that Gov. Martin O'Malley intends to extend health benefits to same-sex partners of state employees.

This would, in particular, help improve recruitment and retention at the University of Maryland, which is currently at a disadvantage relative to many private employers and to universities such as the Johns Hopkins University (my employer) that have offered same-sex domestic partner benefits for many years.

It should be noted, however, that this move would not quite put gay couples "on par with married spouses," as The Baltimore Sun's article "Benefits for gays" (Feb. 3) suggests it would.

Health insurance coverage for same-sex partners and their dependents is taxable income; for married couples and their dependents, it is not.

Thus the same coverage effectively costs more for same-sex couples and families than for married heterosexuals.

The extension of health and other employment benefits to same-sex domestic partners is a step in the right direction, but not until we have the right to full civil marriage - recognized by state and federal governments - will lesbian and gay couples truly have parity with "traditional" families.

Janet Goldstein, Baltimore

At least Obama takes responsibility

Am I the only one who believes that Tom Daschle's withdrawal from consideration for a Cabinet position is not embarrassing to President Barack Obama ("'I screwed up,' Obama admits," Feb. 4)?

It is absolutely refreshing to see Mr. Obama take responsibility for this issue. What previous Republican or Democratic president can you remember accepting responsibly for his actions?

As a conservative Republican, my hat is off to the president. Let's continue to select accountable men and women to lead our country.

Malcolm McKnight, Cambridge

E-ZPass customer will buy in Delaware

In response to the vote by the Maryland Transportation Authority's board to impose a $1.50-a-month fee for E-ZPass customers, I plan to cancel my Maryland E-ZPass and sign up for the program in Delaware instead ("New toll, E-ZPass rates approved," Jan. 30).

Delaware does not charge a monthly fee.

Philip Sanders, Baltimore

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