This is great news. Delegate Tom Rust (R-86) has introduced a bill (HB 1726) that would permit “coverage under a group life insurance policy to be extended to insure any class of persons as may mutually be agreed upon by the insurer and the group policyholder.” The passage of this bill would mean that Virginia employers would no longer be restricted to offering such coverage only to the legal spouses and dependent children of employees, and would remove a competitive disadvantage they are currently burdened with in recruiting and retaining the best employees.
Rust said he introduced the legislation because companies are “hurt in recruiting” by not being allowed to provide life insurance to partners of gay employees.
An owner of a multi-state engineering firm, Rust said the current law is a “detriment” to employees who work in Virginia “as opposed to ones who work in another state who would have this benefit.”
Rust told the Blade that the legislation would not make expanding life insurance benefits mandatory for Virginia companies and said a “business can decide to do it or not do it.”
The extension of benefits would be strictly voluntary, and could only benefit Virginia’s economy. This is a matter of individual liberty and market freedom. There is no downside. The only reason a person would oppose this bill is their ideological distaste for the possibility that it might make life a little more secure for some gay person.
It also means that there is hope for Virginia Republicans and a meaningful two-party system in which the debate is about good governance, not some extraneous doctrine.
Thank you, Delegate Rust.
This benefits Democrats, as well, by moving the bar a little. Think how much better it would be for both parties and for all of us if the partisan debate we are having is over how best to serve and represent everyone, rather than over whether everyone deserves representation in the first place.
Don’t forget the Equality Virginia Lobby Day and Legislative Reception, coming up January 27. You can talk with your legislators face-to-face, and explain why things like this matter to you. Register now.