Desiree Leone and Carolee Stoll

New Yorkers Desiree Leone, an EMS Coordinator, and Carolee Stoll, who works in College Support Services, have been together for 13 years. Like many who are able to share their stories, the couple considers themselves relatively fortunate. Desiree's employer offers domestic partner health benefits, and both have supportive families.

Still, Desiree and Carolee are not immune to the adverse effects of marriage discrimination. Said Desiree, "Since my medical benefits were much better than [Carolee's], we figured I would put her on mine." After two months of research and a lengthy approval process, the couple then found out about the additional tax implications of covering them both under Desiree's plan.

"I would have to claim the cost of her benefits as salary," said Desiree. "I actually lost money in my paycheck on top of now paying the family plan."

She continued, "When AFLAC began offering a cancer plan to me through my employer, I again requested a family plan to include my partner. They refused to allow or recognize our situation. Needless to say I declined the plan."