I recently highlighted SEIU's endorsement of full equal marriage rights regardless of sexual orientation. SEIU President Andy Stern discusses how and why it came to pass: Regardless of their religious and political beliefs, SEIU members recently held a frank and honest dialogue on the issue. It was emotional, impassioned and spirited, but I'm proud to report they concluded overwhelmingly that this attempt is nothing more than divisive wedge-issue politics that unfairly singles out a group of people for second-class citizenship. I'm also proud to announce that at our convention in San Francisco, delegates passed [a] resolution, making SEIU the first union in the nation to support marriage equality...While sexual preference may be a personal issue, SEIU members see the gay marriage debate as a union issue. It is. There are over 1,000 rights, responsibilities and protections that come along with civil marriage, like hospital visitation and inheritance rights, and many of which relate to benefits tied to the workplace, including health insurance and pensions. Domestic partnership benefits are not a suitable alternative. They do not allow a firefighter to share his pension with his lifelong companion. A nurse who is lucky enough to be able to cover her partner on her health insurance is taxed on the value of that health plan as additional income, as the government does not recognize their relationship. SEIU members sent a strong message at our convention. SEIU isn't about merely tolerating difference, we embrace and thrive on difference - and we stand up for social and economic justice for everyone. And we've gone on record once again in support of equality for every person in this country and standing up for what is right and just.


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