By Thaddeus M. Baklinski
July 5, 2010 (LifeSiteNews.com) - A news release from Google says that the mega-search engine company will begin paying its homosexual employees more than their heterosexual counterparts.
Citing a tax law that says health insurance benefits paid to civil partners of homosexual employees are considered taxable income, while benefits provided to married spouses are not taxed, Google announced it will rectify the tax "discrimination" against homosexuals by paying them the difference.
On average an extra $1,069 per year will be given to homosexuals, according to a NY Times report.
The company said on its blog Thursday, that it will be “grossing-up imputed taxes on health insurance benefits for all same-sex domestic partners in the United States, retroactive to January 1, 2010.”
Google is well known for its endorsement of homosexuality and already has parental leave for homosexuals equivalent to the Family and Medical Leave Act; it is working with its insurers to change the definition of infertility - now defined as the inability to conceive a child after trying for one year - in order to have employee health benefits cover artificial insemination for lesbians.
It was reported that the company made the move in response to complaints from homosexual employees that they were discriminated against by the tax system.
"We said, 'You're right, that doesn't seem fair,' so we looked into it," Google Personnel chief Laszlo Bock told the New York Times. "From that initial suggestion, we said, let's take a look at all the benefits we offer and see if we are being truly fair across the board."
Daryl Herrschaft, director of the Workplace Project at Human Rights Campaign, a homosexual rights advocacy group, applauded Google's new policy.
"They're picking up the slack where the federal government hasn't recognized the reality of diversity in the workforce today," Herrschaft told the media.
"This is eliminating existing discrimination that ... gays and lesbians face in the workplace as a result of federal law that doesn’t acknowledge their families."
However, Focus on the Family spokesman Gary Schneeberger told FoxNews.com that the extra pay given to homosexuals is actually reverse discrimination and does nothing to equalize benefits to employees.
“If Google wants to be truly fair to its employees, it should consider extra compensation to married heterosexuals who are bitten every April 15 by the marriage-penalty tax,” Schneeberger said.
“How is offering more money to only one group to offset a perceived inequity not a form of discrimination against those groups not fortunate enough to receive such bonuses?”
Furthermore, Fox News legal analyst Lis Wiehl said Google's move could open the way for a reverse discrimination lawsuit against the company based on infringement of the statute of equal pay for equal work, and giving preference to benefits based on sexual orientation.
“There’s a potential for a reverse discrimination suit because of the equal pay for equal work statute which says that if I’m doing the same job as the person next to me that my marital status or sexual orientation shouldn’t be taken into consideration. It’s my work performance that should be taken into consideration,” Wiehl told FoxNews.com.
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