WINSTON-SALEM, N.C.-- Starting July 1, Wake Forest University's Reynolda Campus will offer tax equity benefits for same-sex domestic partners, who often have to pay more in state in federal taxes than heterosexual married couples.
Wake Forest has offered same-sex benefits to faculty and staff for more than 13 years, but the new benefit will add a few thousand dollars to the paychecks of same-sex domestic couples, meeting university requirements, taking part in the university health benefit plan.
"What that does is [it] offsets the increased costs that same-sex domestic partners have to pay because they are not married on a federal level," said Melanie LeMay, Acting Director of the Wake Forest LGBTQ Center.
Under federal law, employers contributing to the cost of employee health insurance do not have to report their contributions as taxable wages for different sex married couples. For same-sex couples, employers benefit contributions are taxed. Same-sex domestic partner benefits are seen as taxable income, meaning they pay more in taxes.
"No one wants to work for an organization that doesn't support them as a human, that doesn't support their basic human rights," said campus librarian Hu Womack.
Womack likes the benefit addition.
"It's very important to me in a state where I am not always supported as an out gay man to work for an institution that does support me," said Womack.
Wake Forest says the amount of tax equity benefit compensation will vary depending on exactly what types of benefits the employee signs up for. The university says it is unclear how many employees will apply.
According to the Human Rights Campaign, other employers in our area offering such benefits include GlaxoSmithKline, Bank of America and Replacements Ltd.
Princeton, Yale, Syracuse, University of Pennsylvania, Barnard and Bowdoin College also provide similar benefits for employees.