Bush Approves Pension Tax Law with Benefits for Same-Sex Couples
President Bush signed the Federal Pension Protection Act into law yesterday, which includes two provisions that will greatly benefit same-sex couples and other non-spouse beneficiaries. The first provision allows the transferal of a deceased person’s retirement plan benefits into her or his domestic partner’s Individual Retirement Account without incurring taxes. Previously, the partner of the deceased had to withdraw the entire amount of the benefits in one lump sum and claim this amount as part of her or his taxable income. This often brought the survivor into the next tax bracket, forcing the survivor to pay higher taxes on the rest of her or his taxable income.
The second provision allows same-sex couples to draw on their retirement funds when faced with a medical or financial emergency. Married couples previously had this emergency access to each other’s retirement benefits.
Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese commented yesterday on the importance of the legislation: “Today marks an important day for fairness under the law in America… In a challenging political climate, we persevered and helped to secure critical federal protections that will make difficult times for domestic partners a little easier.”
These provisions also include other non-dependent, non-spouse beneficiaries, including siblings, parents, and children.
Media Resources: Human Rights Campaign Press Release 8/17/2006; LA Times 8/18/2006; United Press International 8/17/2006
8/28/2015 Alaska Court Protects Abortion Access for Low-Income Women - The Alaska Superior Court struck down a state law yesterday that would have severely limited abortion access for low-income women in Alaska.
The state's Superior Court also struck down a Department of Health and Social Services regulation that placed narrow specifications on Medicaid coverage for abortions, requiring that Medicaid-funded abortions be determined by a physician to be "medically necessary." Last year, the Center for Reproductive Rights, the American Civil Liberties Union, and Planned Parenthood sued on behalf of the Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest, claiming that the narrow definition of "medically necessary" arbitrarily established conditions designed to restrict the ability of low-income women to access abortion services.
The law was temporarily blocked last July by an Alaskan state court judge.
Superior Court Judge John Suddock ordered yesterday that the state be blocked from implementing this regulation, ruling that it placed an undue burden on low-income women seeking abortion services in Alaska.
"By providing health care to all poor Alaskans except women who need abortions, the challenged regulation violates the state constitutional guarantee of 'equal rights, opportunities, and protection under the law'," the ruling read.
"We applaud the superior court for striing down these cruel restrictions on women's health and rights that violate the Alaska Constitution," said Chris Charbonneau, CEO of Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest and the Hawaiian Islands. . . .
8/26/2015 Saudi Women Prepare to Vote for the First Time - The fight for gender equality is making slow but notable progress in Saudi Arabia, where women will be allowed to vote for the first time in upcoming December elections.
This shift in Saudi law came in 2011, when a royal decree announced that women would be allowed to vote and run in local elections beginning in December of 2015. . . .