Bayer sued over refusal to pay out survivor benefits to gay widower

Chemical giant Bayer is refusing to pay the gay widower of an employee a survivors’ pension despite their 2008 Connecticut same-sex marriage

Bayer sued over refusal to pay out survivor benefits to gay widower
03 June 2014

A Connecticut gay man is suing the Bayer Corporation after it refused to pay him survivors’ benefits after his husband died.

Bayer claims they do not owe Gerald Passaro any money despite his marriage to Thomas Buckholz, an employee of Bayer for over 20 years who legally married Passaro in Connecticut in November of 2008.

They had been together for 13 years prior to their marriage.

Buckholz died in January 0f 2009, just two months after their wedding, at which point Passaro sought the benefits the company’s pension plan is supposed to pay out to surviving spouses of employees but Bayer told him he was not eligible because of the US federal government’s Defense of Marriage Act.

Passaro was one of the parties to the court case that struck down part of the Defense of Marriage Act and he asked Bayer to reconsider whether he was eligible for survivor benefits after that verdict but they refused to do so.

In response, Passaro filed a lawsuit against Bayer via his lawyers the Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders (GLAD) in the District Court for Connecticut.

‘Despite the fact that DOMA has been found unconstitutional, Bayer continues to deny benefits to Jerry even though its pension plan provides benefits to all surviving spouses and even though federal law (ERISA) mandates pension benefits for surviving spouses under plans like Bayer’s,’ GLAD interim executive director Gary Buseck said in a statement.

‘Bayer has turned a deaf ear to its legal and moral obligation to the widower of a dedicated employee, who is in need of this basic support that his husband earned.’

The Bayer Corporation is 151 years old and invented both aspirin and heroin – though it has not manufactured the later for many decades.

HAVE YOUR SAY

MORE TOP STORIES

No thumbnail available

Gay man brutally beaten in Mississippi says assault was hate crime

Witness says attacker stomped his face into the ground while yelling 'Faggot!'
No thumbnail available

Following anti-gay controversy, Duck Dynasty ratings slide to lowest in more than a year

Show loses nearly 2 million viewers from season premiere a week earlier
No thumbnail available

Grooming shouldn’t be a dirty word for gay men

Are men missing a bonding experience by not talking openly about the beauty and grooming products and techniques they all secretly use?
No thumbnail available

Benjy the gay bull makes it to his new home in time for Christmas

Benjy the gay bull, saved from an end in an Irish slaughterhouse, is settling in at Hillside Animal Sanctuary in Norwich, England and is already making new friends
No thumbnail available

Colorado governor wants gays to have civil unions in his state

John Hickenlooper: 'This year, let's do it. Let's pass civil unions!'
No thumbnail available

Kelly Clarkson 'likely' to vote for Obama because of his pro-gay marriage stance

This despite the singer being 'a Republican at heart'
No thumbnail available

Barry Manilow gets married to longtime manager Garry Kief in surprise wedding

Singer, 71, had never publicly acknowledged being gay
No thumbnail available

Perfect Porto: ocean breeze and the magic of wine in the Portuguese city and beyond

The country's second largest city after Lisbon proves the perfect base for exploring this wine-drenched region. Honey and orange peel-flavoured Port, anyone?
No thumbnail available

Former Love In Action ‘ex-gay’ leader John Smid has married a man in Oklahoma

John Smid, former leader of the notorious ‘ex-gay’ group Love In Action, has married for a third time, and this time it’s to another man
No thumbnail available

Top Australian cricketer Brett Lee condemns homophobia in sport for IDAHOT

Brett Lee says that he has no doubt that there are professional level cricketers who are gay but he fears they feel they still need to hide their sexuality