One of the scare tactics that are being used by critics of State Rep. Mike Johnson’s HB 707 is that the legislation will lead health insurance employers to drop spouses off of their health insurance. In fact, it’s the main argument against the bill that’s being put out there by Equality Louisiana, which is a shell organization of the George Soros funded Louisiana Progress. Here’s an example:
HB 707: The Louisiana Marriage and Conscience Act by Rep. Mike Johnson is a cleverly disguised attempt to accomplish the same goal as the laws in Indiana and Arkansas. Don’t be fooled by the title of the bill or the ways that supporters are talking about it.
HB 707 targets lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender citizens in Louisiana and legalizes discrimination against them under the guise of protecting individual religious beliefs about marriage. This bill aims to make actions legal — such as denying the same sex spouse of an employee access to life-saving benefits such as health insurance.
While the legislation does allow employers to deny same-sex spouses benefits, it’s hard to believe that very many companies would do that. As groups like Equality Louisiana will tell you until they can’t talk anymore, sexual orientation is not covered under Louisiana’s employment non-discrimination laws. Also, since Louisiana’s marriage amendment remains the law in Louisiana, gay couples are usually not offered the same health insurance opposite sex couples receive anyway.
But yet, Louisiana companies apparently still hire gay employees. Equality Louisiana can’t have it both ways, either Louisiana companies are homophobes who won’t hire gays or they hire gays just so they can deny their same sex spouses health insurance. But I digress.
If Louisiana companies are hiring gay employees, which they don’t have to by law, odds are they’re going to be willing provide the same benefits to same sex spouses that they’re providing for opposite sex spouses. The reason why many Louisiana companies hire gay employees when they legally don’t have to is that the gay employee is the best person for the job. Just as health insurance benefits for themselves and their spouses might be used to entice straight employees, they same logic would work for gay employees.
There are two final things that prove that Equality Louisiana is engaging in scare tactics, Obamacare and Federal law. Companies have already started not covering spouses because of Obamacare. That’s a problem for both same sex and opposite sex couples. The reason is that Obamacare imposes new fees on insurance companies per person covered. By the way, Equality Louisiana supports Obamacare.
Also, insurance plans offered on Healthcare.gov, which services Louisiana, must treat same sex married couples the same as opposite sex married couples. This is despite the fact same sex marriage remains illegal in Louisiana.
Finally, employee benefits are governed more by Federal law than state law. The Supremacy Clause of the U.S. Constitution is not being overturned here and in fact, a state law cannot overturn it.
Will this law result in a bunch of companies dropping gay spouses from their health insurance? Probably not, because employee benefits are mostly governed by Federal law. Larger companies are likely to not do it in any event because they want to be seen as gay friendly. The smaller companies will eventually be thrown onto Healthcare.gov as their policies become obsolete with Obamacare and those policies must treat gay couples the same as straight couples.
These are just scare tactics by Equality Louisiana because they want to force the Christian baker to bake the gay wedding cake and the Christian florist to provide the floral arrangement for the gay wedding. Louisiana’s anti-Christian media, who are Democrat Party operatives posing as unbiased journalists, gladly eat it up.
The Louisiana legislature should reject these tactics and send a message by passing HB 707.