Partners Task Force for Gay & Lesbian Couples
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Governments Offering Benefits
in the U.S., Canada, and Selected Other Countries
© February 5, 2015, Demian

Benefits vary widely, and are subject to change. Most, but not all, of these municipalities include same-sex as well as unmarried opposite-sex partners. All we know about the benefits are listed herein.

It is likely that there are even far more employers who offer benefits than we list. If you have information regarding additions or changes, please see below for the data we need.

The Federal COBRA law applies only to legally married, opposite-sex employees, not to employees with domestic partners. So it is up to an employer to continue benefits on the death of a partner, such as has been done in West Palm Beach, Broward County, Monroe County, Key West and Gainesville in Florida.

None of the pages on this Web site may be reproduced by any form of reproduction without permission from Partners, with the exception of copies for personal, student, and non-commercial use. Please do not copy this article to any Web site.

U.S. Governments
U.S. Federal
U.S. Military
American Samoa
District of Columbia
New Hampshire
New Jersey
New Mexico
New York
North Carolina
North Dakota
Northern Mariana Islands
Puerto Rico
Rhode Island
South Carolina
South Dakota
Virgin Islands
West Virginia

      U.S. Cities that Require Contractors to Offer Benefits
Berkeley, CA
King County, WA
Los Angeles, CA
Miami Beach, FL
Minneapolis, MN
North Miami, FL
Oakland, CA
Oakland Metro Chamber of Comm. CA
Olympia, WA
San Francisco, CA
San Mateo County, CA
Seattle, WA
Tumwater, WA

Canadian Governments

Global Governmental Legal Registration

Benefits Offered, Then Denied

U.S. Governments

United States

All Federal workers (2009, expanded 2010)
    = President Obama issued a June 2009 memo offering benefits to same-sex partners.
    Benefits: long-term care insurance, expanded sick leave, and medical evacuation rights.
    = President Obama directed all government agencies - except for the military -
    to expand benefits to include same-sex partners on June 2, 2010.
    Benefits: family assistance services, hardship transfers and relocation expenses; some
    agencies could permit credit union and gym memberships, counseling services, adoption
    counseling attending agency events or outings, vision insurance, business travel
    insurance, physical exams, homeowner’s insurance.
    Note: the expansion is tempered by the phrase “to the extent permitted by law,”
    which relates to the so-called “Defense of Marriage Act” (prohibiting Federal recognition
    of same-sex marriage), and the so-called “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” law (prohibiting known
    homosexuals from serving in the military).

Bureau of National Affairs (BNA)

Civil Service
    Benefits: Bereavement and/or family illness leave.

Department of Housing (HUD)
    Benefits: Bereavement and/or family illness leave.

House of Representatives

Office of Personnel Management (1994)
    Benefits: Sick leave only, but can be used for any health care or funeral.

U.S. Military

No known benefits.
Currently, the military throws otherwise perfectly solid soldiers out of the service if they are known to be gay or lesbian.


No known benefits.


    In 2014, Alaska gained extensive benefits through full, legal marriage for same-sex couples.

Alaska State Employees
    Note: In October 2005, the Alaska Supreme Court ruled that the state and the Municipality of
    Anchorage, must offer benefits to same-sex partners of public employees. Denying such
    benefits was unconstitutional. In January 5, 2006, the state asked for at least a year to
    deal with the complexities. Gov. Frank Murkowski vowed to fight the ruling by amending
    the Alaska Constitution if necessary. If granted, the year’s delay could give him the
    time to mount an opposition.

Juneau, Alaska

American Samoa

No known benefits.


    In 2014, Arizona gained extensive benefits through full, legal marriage for same-sex couples.

Arizona State Employees (2008)
    Benefits: Medical for state employees
    Note 1: Under former Governor Janet Napolitano (now Secretary of the Department of
    Homeland Security) Arizona offered employee benefits to domestic partners in 2008.
    In June 2009, the Arizona Senate passed SB 1145, which, among other things, changes the
    definition of the word “dependant” to specifically remove domestic partner benefits for
    same-sex couples.
    Governor Jan Brewer signed the law in September 2009. Spousal benefits for heterosexual
    workers remian, while the benefits for same-sex partners expired in October 2010.
    Note 2: In November 2009, Lambda Legal sued (in Collins v. Brewer) based on the denial
    of equal pay for equal work, an unconstitutionally inflicted hardship on a targeted group of
    Arizona families.
    In July 2010, U.S. District Court Judge John Sedwick issued a preliminary injunction to
    block enforcement of the discriminatory law, and denied Arizona’s motion to dismiss the case.
    The state immediately appealed to the Ninth Circuit. On October 20, 2010, the Columbia Law
    School Sexuality and Gender Law Clinic filed an amicus brief with the Ninth Circuit Court
    of Appeals to recognize that discrimination based on sexual orientation demands the most
    stringent constitutional standard courts use to review state and federal law.

Phoenix, Arizona (August 1, 2000)
    Benefits: Medical, life and other insurance benefits; offered to same-and opposite-sex
    Note: To qualify, employees must have lived together for at least one year and present
    evidence of financial interdependence; not required of legally married partners. All five
    unions negotiated the benefits into their two-year contracts. Most union benefits are
    routinely extended to non-union employees to save the city extra administration costs.

Pima County, Arizona
    Benefits: Medical, dental.
    Note: Survived suit by county attorney’s office; judge ruled, March 1998, to allow
    benefits slotted to begin eight months earlier.

Scottsdale, Arizona (2001)

Tempe, Arizona (July 1999)
    Benefits: Same-and opposite-sex couples.

Tucson, Arizona (1997)
    Benefits: Same-sex only.
    Note: Must sign affidavit stating they are committed to a long-term, monogamous relationship.


Eureka Springs, Arkansas (registry 2007) (city worker benefits 1020)

    Benefits for city workers: medical provided by the Arkansas Municipal League; for both same- and
    opposite-sex partners of city workers. Active from January 1, 2011.
    Note 1: From Eureka Springs Mayor Dani Joy: “I am aware as well as you that some will construe this
    as a ‘gay issue,’ but the reality is that there are many heterosexual couples who chose to live
    together in a committed relationship - as a family - without entering into the civil contract of
    marriage. These folks face the same ‘family’ challenges every day, not the least of which is
    providing health care for themselves and for those who are dependent on them. … The definition of
    family is at the center of our concerns.”

    Benefits for general registration: None. For both same- and opposite-sex couples.
    Available to anyone in the country. Couple must certify that they “are in a committed relationship,
    not involved in another domestic partnership, and intend to be domestic partners indefinitely.”
    The Eureka Springs City Council unanimously passed the domestic partner registry ordinance on
    May 14, 2007. Effective June 13, 2007.
    Note 2: Signing up for the registry gets you a certificate bearing the signature of the Mayor and
    the City Clerk. The ordinance was originally intended to encourage employers to provide benefits
    for couples, who do not want to, or are unable to be married.

    Eureka Springs Domestic Partner Registry Form - Regestry fee $35
    Eureka Springs Domestic Partner Registry Termination - Regestry Terminated fee $20


    In 2008, California gained extensive benefits through full, legal marriage for same-sex couples.

California State (January 2000)
    Note 1: Previous to the 2001 bill, the registry offered no benefits to the public, but there
    was medical coverage with California Public Employees Retirement System for same-sex domestic
    partners who signed the state registry; $10 registry fee. Registry requires couples to
    cohabit and accept responsibility for each other’s living expenses - not necessarily
    requirements of legal marriage. Implemented January 1, 2000.
    Note 2: California offers extensive benefits through their domestic
    partnership registration. When it first became law on January 1, 2000, there were very
    limited benefits. It was expanded, on January 1, 2002, to include 12 more benefits. It was
    again expanded on January 1, 2003 to include scores of benefits and responsibilities.
        [See our article: Domestic Partner Registration: The California Approach]
    Note 3: On January 1, 2007, eight laws took effect which address gay and lesbian issues,
    including: tax filings, court proceedings, discrimination protections, funding for
    domestic-violence prevention among same-sex couples, and allowing registered domestic
    partners to file joint state income-tax returns in 2008.
    Also, any business or other entity that contracts with the state must
    provide the same benefits to domestic partners as it does to married spouses, similar to a
    policy first implemented by San Francisco in 1997, as well as by Los Angeles, Berkeley,
    Oakland, and San Mateo County.
    Note 4: All the new laws were sponsored by Equality California.

Alameda County, California
    Benefits: Bereavement and/or family illness leave.

Alameda County, California
    Benefits: Medical.

Bay Area Air Quality Management District, California

Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART), San Francisco, California

Berkeley, California (1984)
    Note: The first municipality to offer benefits on December 5, 1984, by an 8-1 vote of the
    Berkeley City Council.
    City requires contractors to provide domestic partner benefits.

Berkeley Unified School District, California

Claremont, California

Fremont, California
    Benefits: Medical. For police officers.
    Note: Extends coverage through the state’s Public Employees’ Retirement System. To
    be paid out of existing funds, so does not impact the budget.

Healdsburg, California
    Benefits: Medical.

Laguna Beach, California
    Benefits: Medical.

Laguna Beach Unified School District, California (2001)
    Benefits: Medical. For same- and opposite sex partners. Required to cohabit, be in a
    monogamous relationship, and financially support each other - NOT required of legally married
    partners. Implemented September 12, 2001.

Los Alamos National Laboratory, California

Los Angeles, California (1999)
    Note: All business contracted for more than $5,000 with Los Angeles
    that offer benefits to their opposite-sex married workers must also offer them to same-sex
    partners. Adopted November 1999. L.A. City strengthened the ordinance on February 12,

Los Angeles, California
    Benefits: Medical. For same- and opposite-sex partners.

Los Angeles County, California (August 2003)
    Benefits: Medical, dental. For same- and opposite-sex partners. Added death benefits for
    partners of retired county employees on August 26, 2003.

Los Angeles County Metropolitan, California Transportation Authority

Los Angeles Unified School District, California

Marin County, California
    Benefits: Medical.

Modesto, California
    Benefits: Medical, dental, vision, cancer or life insurance; same-sex only.
    Note: Will not cost the district anything because employees get up to $223 a month in their
    paychecks to buy their own coverage from the California Public
    Employees’ Retirement System. 

Oakland, California (2002)
    Note: All contractors who do at least $25,000 worth of business with
    the city, and who already pay for benefits for their employees’ spouses, are required to
    extend equal benefits to domestic partners who are registered with the city or another
    government agency. Implemented summer 2002.

Oakland, California (1997)
    Benefits: Dental, vision.
    Note: While adopting a definition of domestic partners in 1993, the city was unable to
    wrangle a full medical benefit package from the Public Employees Retirement System (PERS) for
    employees’ partners until 1997. Benefits were originally for same-sex only, but a court
    ruling made it available for all after April 1998.

Oakland Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce, California
    Note: Requires contractors to provide domestic partner benefits.

Petaluma, California
    Benefits: Vision, dental, bereavement, sick leave.
    Note: Couples required to live together at least six consecutive months; not required of
    legally married partners.

Sacramento, California

Sacramento County, California (September 2002)
    Benefits: Medical, dental; required to sign California state domestic partner registration;
    same-sex couples and opposite-sex couples over age 62.
    Note: Eemployer does not pay any part of benefits, thereby costing workers a monthly $200-500
    for medical and nearly $40 for dental; adopted September 11, 2002.

Sacramento Para Transit

San Bruno, California (February 2001)
    Benefits: Medical, dental.
    Note 1: Bereavement coverage was being negotiated in union contracts.
    Note 2: Affidavit requires partners to be responsible for each other’s common welfare,
    including basic living expenses - defined as “the cost of basic food, shelter and any
    other expense of a domestic partner.” Neither partner may have had another
    domestic partner within the past twelve months. None of these restrictions are required
    of legally married partners.

San Diego, California
    Benefits: Medical)

San Francisco, California (city & county) (1996)
    Note: All business contracted with San Francisco that offer benefits to
    their opposite-sex married workers must also offer them to same-sex partners. The city
    reported that personnel costs to companies increase by less than 2 percent. Adopted

San Francisco Chamber of Commerce

San Jose, California (March 2004)
    Benefits: Medical.
    Note: Originally allowed workers who had entered “into marriages which are valid in the
    jurisdiction” where the vows were performed to participate in the city’s benefits
    program. In December 2005 a Santa Clara County Superior Court judge ruled that San Jose
    cannot offer benefits to the same-sex partners of its employees based only on a marriage
    certificate. It can still offer them based on obtaining the state domestic partnership

San Jose School District, California
    Note: Certain unionized employees; bereavement and/or family illness leave.

San Luis Obispo, California
    Benefits: Medical.

San Mateo County, California
    Benefits: For municipal employees.
    Note: Requires contractors to provide domestic partner benefits.

Santa Barbara, California
    Benefits: Medical, dental.
    Note 1: Must cohabit, “share the common necessities of life,” not be married to anyone,
    be at least 18, be each other’s sole domestic partner, intend to remain so indefinitely
    and “are responsible for each others common welfare,” and have not filed a Statement of
    Termination of Domestic Partnership within the last 6 months.
    Note 2: A suit failed to prevent benefits in December 1998. It was brought by “Citizens for
    Accountable Government” which is aided by the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ),
    which was founded by Pat Robertson.
        [see the city’s article: Domestic Partner Policy]

Santa Cruz, California
    Benefits: Medical.

Santa Cruz County, California
    Benefits: Medical.

Santa Cruz Metropolitan Transit System, California

Santa Cruz Operation, California

Santa Rosa, California
    Benefits: Medical.

Sebastopol, California (2003)
    Benefits: Medical.

Sonoma County, California (2003)
    Benefits: Medical; both same-and opposite-sex.

Ventura County, California
    Benefits: Medical.

West Hollywood, California (1985)
    Benefits: Medical.
    Note: West Hollywood may have been the first, in 1985, to use the phrase “Domestic


Aspen, Colorado

Boulder, Colorado

Denver, Colorado (1997)
    Benefits: Medical. Implemented January 1997.
    Note: Two city residents sued, claiming the city violated state law. The judge threw out the
    case. The Appeals Court ruled in Oct. 1998; “The power to grant group health insurance
    benefits to spousal equivalents is a matter of local concern subject only to the limitations
    imposed by the city charter.”

Eagle County, Colorado (2007)
    Benefits: Medical. Approved in 2006, implemented 2007.
    Note: County Human Resources Director Nora Fryklund: “We’re just trying to be fair
    to everyone who works here.”

Glendale, Colorado (2002)
    Benefits: Medical, dental, vision. For same-sex only. Required to be a “committed
    relationship,” live together and to show three forms of proof that they are financially
    dependent upon one another - not required of legal marriage. Implemented 2002.


    In 2008, Connecticut gained extensive benefits through full, legal marriage for same-sex couples.
        [Please see our article: Connecticut Legal Marriage]

Connecticut State Employees (2000)
    Benefits: Medical, retirement; does NOT include family sick leave, state or federal FMLA,
    family funeral benefits and others. For same-sex state workers only. The domestic partner of
    the employee may be eligible for the pre-retirement death benefit if the employee had a
    Domestic Partnership Affidavit on file with the Retirement Division for at least one year.
    Requirements: “must reside together, must be mutually dependent upon each other” -
    not required of legal marriage; effective March 10, 2000.
    Note: Retirement benefits resulted from arbitration. Extended to all classified and
    unclassified employees (including employees of higher education, judicial and legislative)
    not represented by a collective bargaining agent.
    Note: As of October 1, 2005, all Connecticut businesses must allow
    workers to add same-sex partners as beneficiaries to their employment benefits. The law
    requires that “parties to a civil union shall have all the same benefits, protections
    and responsibilities as granted to spouses in a marriage, which is defined as the union of
    one man and one woman.”

Hartford, Connecticut

Mansfield, Connecticut

Newington, Connecticut School District (July 2005)
    Benefits: Medical, same-sex only; negotiated union contract mid-December 2004, effective July
    1, 2005.


    In 2013, Delaware gained extensive benefits through full, legal marriage for same-sex couples.

Delaware State Employees
    Benefits: Bereavement and/or family illness leave.

District of Columbia

    In 2009, District of Columbia gained extensive benefits through full, legal marriage for same-sex couples.

District of Columbia (2001)
    Benefits: Medical, family and medical leave. For both same- and opposite-sex couples.
    Note 1: Requires partners to pay the full cost of benefits. The same law for benefits also
    created a domestic partner registration which allows familial rights at hospitals, nursing
    homes and adoption agencies. In addition, it gives a tax break to private sector employers
    that offer health insurance benefits to domestic partners. Known as the District of Columbia
    Health Care Benefits Expansion Act of 1992, it was blocked by “social riders” the
    U.S. Congress has attached to D.C. budget bills since 1992. It was finally allowed to be
    enacted in December 2001.
    Note 2: On May 06, 2009, passed law which recognizes same-sex kegal marriage from other states,
    which become effective July 7, 2009.


    In 2014, Florida gained extensive benefits through full, legal marriage for same-sex couples.

Bay Harbor Islands (2013)
    LGBT town employees can get the same rights and benefits as all other city employees.
    The Town Council unanimously passed a Domestic Partnership Ordinance in mid-March 2013.
    Jordan W. Leonard, Bay Harbor Islands Vice Mayor: “With a minimal fiscal impact, this
    ordinance will make our town more competitive and fairer in retaining and recruiting
    the highest quality of employees, regardless of their personal sexual orientation.
    I am proud to have sponsored such legislation.”

Broward County, Florida (1999)
    Benefits: Medical, extends COBRA-like benefits.
    Note: January 1999, the County Commission offered preference points to county contract
    bidders who extend spousal benefits to unmarried employees. In September, 2000, a Florida
    appeals court rejected a legal challenge to the ordinance by the Northstar Legal Foundation,
    a radical right law firm in Fairfax, Virginia.

Broward County School District, Florida

Delray Beach, Florida
    Benefits: Medical.

Florida Attorney General’s Office (2007)
    Benefit: Sick leave. In December 2007, Bill McCollum implemented the policy allowing for
    employees of the AG to care for domestic partners. Policy implemented at the suggestion request
    of Florida’s Chief Financial Officer, Alex Sink.

Florida Commissioner of Agriculture and Consumer Affairs (2008)
    Benefits: Sick leave - January 2008.

Florida Department of Financial Services (DFS), Florida (2007)
    Benefits: Sick leave - effective October 2007.
    Note: DFS employs 2,560 Floridians. Florida’s Chief Financial Officer Alex Sink
    implemented the policy at the request of the Palm Beach County Human Rights Council.

Gainesville, Florida
    Benefits: Medical, extends COBRA-like benefits.

Health Care District of Palm Beach County, Florida (2007)
    Benefits: Medical - October 2008.

Hialeah, Florida

Juno Beach (2008)
    Benefits: Bereavement leave.
    Note: Revised definition of “immediate family” to include an employee’s “significant other” for
    purpose of bereavement, January 2008.

Jupiter, Town of, Florida (2007)
    Benefits: Medical, dental, family leave.
    Note: Voted by the Jupiter Town Council on March 6, 2007.

Key West, Florida (1998)
    Benefits: Medical, extends COBRA-like benefits to municipal employees. For same-sex only.
    Implemented 1998.

Lake Worth, Florida
    Benefits: Medical.

Miramar, Florida (2001)

Miami, Florida (2009)
    Benefits: Medical.
    Note 1: The City of Miami Commission voted 5-0 to adopt the Domestic Partnership Ordinance
    on June 11, 2009.
    Note 2: Commissioner Marc Sarnoff: “Providing employment benefits, including health care,
    to the domestic partners of our City of Miami employees is a common sense idea that has been
    far too long in coming. This is nothing more than treating people equally. I am proud to say
    our City is doing the right thing.”
    Note 3: Chairman Commissioner Joe Sanchez: “This allows us to recruit and retain the best
    and brightest workers for the City of Miami by offering benefits to domestic partners. This
    reaffirms our strong belief that all people are equal in Miami, the City of diversity.”
    Note 4: Adoption of the benefits were supported by the efforts of Safeguarding American
    Values for Everyone (SAVE) Dade’s Executive Director C.J. Ortuno, former Executive Director
    Heddy Pena, SAVE’s Political Committee, and many volunteers, including those from Equality
    Florida. Assistance in developing the ordinance language came from the LGBT Advocacy Project
    of the ACLU of Florida.

Miami Beach, Florida (2001)
    Benefits: Sick, annual, bereavement leave.
    Note 1: In November 2001, voters approved giving medical benefits to city employees’
    domestic partners, and also approved offering survivor benefits to the domestic partners of
    police officers and firefighters.
    Note 2: In 2006 the City of Miami Beach passed an ordinance, which
    requires businesses with 51 or more employees, and contracts worth more than $100,000,
    to offer benefits to domestic partners their own employees.

Miami-Dade County, Florida (2008)
    Benefits: Medical.
    Note: Voted in May 2008.

Miami-Dade County School District, Florida

Monroe County, Florida (1998)
    Benefits: Medical, sick, bereavement, parental leave; implemented 1998;
    extends COBRA-like benefits.

North Miami, Florida (2006)
    Benefits: Medical. For both same- and opposite-sex couples. Offered since October 2006.
    Note: On December 12, 2007, the North Miami City Council adopted, by a
    5-0 vote, a new Procurement Ordinance which requires contractors with 40 or more employees,
    bidding on contracts worth more than $75,000, to provide domestic partner benefits to their own
    employees. Mayor Kevin Burns took the lead on introducing the legislation.

Office of the Clerk and Comptroller, Florida (2007)
    Benefits: Medical, providing employees’ domestic partners and children with the same coverage as
    is provided to married employees’ families under COBRA - June 2007.

Office of the Property Appraiser, Florida
    Benefits: Medical.

Office of the Supervisor of Elections, Florida
    Benefits: Medical.

Office of the Tax Collector, Florida
    Benefits: Medical.

Palm Beach County Community College (2008)
    Benefits: Medical - September 2008.

Palm Beach County, Florida (2006)
    Benefits: Medical, sick and bereavement leave, life insurance, long term disability, dental, and
    vision voted October 18, 2005 and effective on January 1, 2006.
    Note: Under a plan adopted by the County Commissioners in 2005, County employees with domestic
    partners have paid monthly premiums of $441 for the family health insurance coverage, while
    married employees paid only $92 for the same insurance. When the plan was adopted,
    Commissioner Karen Marcus promised to revisit the premium differential within a year.
    “After examining the cost, the County Commissioners have concluded that there is no
    reason to charge employees with domestic partners significantly higher premiums for the
    family coverage,” said Rand Hoch, Founder of the Palm Beach County Human Rights Council,
    a civil rights organization encouraging domestic partnership issues.
    On October 3, 2006, the Palm Beach County Board of County Commissioners unanimously voted to
    reduce health insurance premiums charged to County employees with domestic partners so that all
    employees will pay the same premium for family coverage.

Palm Beach County Board of County Commissioners, Florida
    Benefits: Medical.

Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office, Florida (2007)
    Benefits: Medical, sick leave, bereavement leave, employee assistance plan, no life insurance.
    For both same- and opposite-sex couples - August 2007.

Palm Beach County School District, Florida (2005; 2008 ruling equalized premium rates)
    Benefits: Medical.
    Note 1: In February 2008, the Palm Beach County School Board unanimously voted to expand the
    definition of “family” in the School District's Leave of Absence policy to include employees’
    domestic partners and their children. The District has a total of 21,000 employees.
    This action came about due to extensive lobbying by the Palm Beach County Human Rights Council
    (PBCHRC), beginning in 2005. However, the district charged employees with domestic partners at
    least $4,200 per year more for the same coverage.
    Note 2: In September 2008, medical coverage was extended to children of employees’ domestic
    partners, effective January 1, 2009.
    This action was due to the PBCHRC filing discrimination charges. The Palm Beach County Office of
    Equal Opportunity ruled in 2008 that — while the School District claimed it was not bound
    by county ordinance — the District was in violation of the Palm Beach Equal Employment
    Ordinance, which makes it illegal for an employer to discriminate in the provision of
    employment benefits, regardless of an employee’s marital status.

Palm Beach County Solid Waste Authority, Florida
    Benefits: Medical.

Palm Beach Gardens, Florida (2007)
    Benefits: Sick and bereavement leave; access to the city’s Employee Assistance Program.
    The City Council directed the City Manager to provide the “no-cost” benefits on
    June 28, 2007 - effective November 2007.

Palm Beach Office of the Public Defender, Florida

Palm-Tran (Palm Beach County), Florida
    Benefits: Medical.

Port of Palm Beach, Florida
    Benefits: Medical.

Seacoast Utility Authority, Palm Beach Gardens (2008)
    Benefits: Medical, dental, disability, life insurance - November 2008.

Tallahassee, Florida (2009)
    Benefits: Medical, dental, vision, and other benefits coverage.
    Note: The Tallahassee City Commission unanimously voted to change its benefits policy to
    include same-sex and domestic partnerships on October 28, 2009. Employees need to provide
    proof for benefits, such as joint rental leases or a mortgage and joint-bank accounts.

Tampa, Florida (2004)
    Benefits: Medical insurance for all city employees.
    Note: Mayor Pam Iorio issued an Executive Order on March 11, 2004.

Tequesta, Florida (2008)
    Benefits: Expanded the definition of “immediate family” to include domestic partners.
    Effective in contracts through September 30, 2010, between the Village of Tequesta and the
    Professional Fire Fighters/Paramedics of Palm Beach County, the Communications Workers of
    America, and the Palm Beach County Police Benevolent Association.

West Palm Beach, Florida (1992)
    Benefits: Medical; for both same-and opposite-sex couples; includes extending benefits the
    same as COBRA; effective January 1, 2007.
    Note: The Federal COBRA law applies only to married employees – not to employees with
    domestic partners. When a City employee dies, the surviving domestic partner will have the
    same option as a surviving married spouse to continue on the city’s health insurance
    plan for up to eighteen months. A domestic partner will pay the same premium under the
    city’s new policy that a surviving spouse would pay under COBRA.

Wilton Manors, Florida


Atlanta, Georgia (1999)
    Benefits: Medical. Instituted 1993, implemented 1999. Pensions instituted 2006.
    Note: The first ordinance, which recognized domestic partners as “a family
    relationship,” state supreme court declared “unconstitutional.” The second
    1997 ordinance was declared legal. State Insurance Commissioner John Oxendine refused to
    approve the ordinance because of his personal bias. The city of Atlanta and Atlanta city
    Councilmember Cathy Woolard (the state’s first openly gay or lesbian official) sued
    Oxendine to force him to approve the ordinance. On Sept. 22, 1999, the court ordered Oxendine
    to lift his statewide prohibition against insurance companies issuing policies covering
    domestic partners.
    Mayor Shirley Franklin extended the benefits to include city pensions in March 2006.
    As of May 2006, fewer than 100 city employees used the benefits.

Decatur, Georgia

DeKalb County, Georgia

Doraville, Georgia (August 7, 2006)
    Benefits: City Council voted, and was immediately effective, on August 7, 2006.

East Point, Georgia (2005)
    Benefits: Medical benefits. For same-sex partners only.
    Note: City Council vote on January 18, 2005.

Fulton County, Georgia (2004)
    Benefits: Medical, visitation rights at the county jail, bereavement leave, death benefits
    such as pension. For same-sex only. voted July 2003, called “committed partner
    benefits”. Implemented January 1, 2004.
    Note: In May 2006, 19 of about 6,000 county employees signed up for benefits. Providing
    committed partner benefits costs the county about $60,000 a year.

Pine Lake, Georgia


No known benefits.


    In 2013, Hawaii gained extensive benefits through full, legal marriage for same-sex couples.

    Hawaii first had a largely symbolic, and incomplete, domestic partner registration process.
    This was greatly expanded in January 2012.
        See Civil Unions: The Hawaii Approach.]


    In 2014, Idaho gained extensive benefits through full, legal marriage for same-sex couples.

Previously no known benefits.


    In 2013, Illinois gained extensive benefits through full, legal marriage for same-sex couples.

Illinois State (2006)
    Benefits: Medical, dental, vision. For same-sex only. Became law on May 8, 2006, effective
    July 1, 2006.
    Note: There are a total of 57,000 Illinois state workers, including about 37,000 union
    workers who are members of the American Federation of State, County & Municipal Employees
    who also receive same-sex domestic partner benefits. The governor’s office estimated
    that enrollment in these programs, including union and non-union employees, may grow by
    one-half of one percent, with an estimated $2.2 million in increased liability annually.

Champaign City, Illinois (October 2005)
    Note: City Council voted 9-zero for the resolution extending employee benefits to same-sex
    domestic partners.

Chicago, Illinois
    Benefits: Medical, paid bereavement leave. For same-sex only. Must be at least 18. Required
    to cohabit.

Cook County, Illinois
    Benefits: Medical, bereavement. For same-sex only.
    Note: Must prove, by joint checking or the like, that they have cohabited for at least a
    year - not required of legally married partners.


    In 2014, Indiana gained extensive benefits through full, legal marriage for same-sex couples.

Bloomington, Indiana


    In 2009, Iowa gained extensive benefits through full, legal marriage for same-sex couples.
        [Please see our article: Iowa Legal Marriage]

Iowa State Employees
    Benefits: Medical. For same- and opposite sex partners. Partners required to have financial
    entanglements - not a requirement of legally married partners. Implemented July 2003 in a two
    year contract.
    Note: The medical benefit, requested in past negotiations, was won by the largest state
    employee union, the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME).
    Traditionally, the union contract, which impacts 20,548 workers, is offered to hundreds of
    non-union workers, however, that decision had not been made as of February 27, 2003.

Iowa City, Iowa (2003)


No known benefits.


Lexington, Kentucky (2003)
    Benefits: Medical. For both same- and opposite-sex partners of city employees. Required to
    have been in a “committed relationship” for six months, are at least 18, and have
    proof of interdependence, such as joint bank accounts, and they “are engaged in a
    committed relationship of mutual caring and support” - NOT required of legally married
    partners. Gained through mayoral executive order. Implemented July 1, 2003.


New Orleans, Louisiana (July 1997)
    Benefits: Same-sex only; medical, family medical leave, bereavement benefits; access to city
    recreational facilities.
    Note 1: Implemented as an executive order by Mayor Marc Morial in July 1997; codified by New
    Orleans City Council unanimous vote in Sept. 20, 2001.
    Note 2: Mike Johnson, who represented the radical, right-wing Alliance Defense Fund, sued the
    city in 2003 on behalf of a group of New Orleans taxpayers, arguing that the domestic
    partners ordinance violates provisions in state law that uphold traditional marriage. Civil
    District Court Judge Louis DiRosa dismissed the suit in May 2005, before it got to trial,
    saying the plaintiffs had no standing to sue because the law did not cost them any tax money.
    On appeal, Johnson acknowledged that the cost increase was minimal, but said state law allows
    taxpayers to sue over any government cost increase, however little. 4th Circuit Court of
    Appeal dismissed the lawsuit on December 19, 2005, saying, “We find that plaintiffs have
    not established the minimal requisite interest, and therefore lack the requisite interest
    sufficient to afford him a right of action.”


    In 2012, Maine gained extensive benefits through full, legal marriage for same-sex couples.

Falmouth, Maine
    Benefits: Medical for teachers.

Portland, Maine


    In 2013, Maryland gained extensive benefits through full, legal marriage for same-sex couples.

Maryland State
    Benefits: Domestic partners are exempted from paying state inheritance tax on certain
    property that passes to them from their deceased domestic partner.
        [See this article from Equality Maryland: Inheritance Tax - Exemption - Domestic Partners]

Maryland State Employees (2009)
    Benefits: Medical (Employee and Retiree Health and Welfare Benefit Program).
    Implemented July 1, 2009.
    Note: Employee/retiree and the employee’s/retiree’s domestic partner must be same-sex;
    at least 18; not be related by blood or marriage within four degrees of consanguinity;
    not married or in a civil union or a domestic partnership with another individual;
    “been in a committed relationship of mutual interdependence for at least 12 consecutive
    months in which each individual contributes to some extent to the other individual’s
    maintenance and support with the intention of remaining in the relationship indefinitely;”
    and cohabit. Legally married couples are not required to cohabit and are not required to
    be economically co-dependent.
        [See the State’s benefit details: State Employees Health Benefits Information ]

Baltimore, Maryland
    Benefits: Same-sex partners only.

Baltimore County School System, Maryland

College Park, Maryland

Greenbelt, Maryland

Howard County, Maryland

Hyattsville, Maryland

Montgomery County, Maryland (March 2000)
    Benefits: Medical, leave, survivor benefits; same-sex partners only; for active and retired
    County employees; effective March 3, 2000.
    Note: Survived a court challenge by Pat Robertson’s Virginia-based American Center for
    Law and Justice. That lawsuit unsuccessfully claimed that the county lacked authority to
    “redefine marriage and dependent” and cited the state’s “sodomy” law.
    An appeal was filed and lost in a unanimous ruling on June 14, 2002.

Mount Ranier, Maryland

Prince George’s County School Systems, Maryland

Takoma Park, Maryland


    In 2004, Massachusetts gained extensive benefits through full, legal marriage for same-sex couples.
        [Please see our article: Massachusetts Offers Legal Marriage]

Massachusetts State Employees (2001)
    Benefits: Sick and bereavement leave, paid time off for court appearances or counseling for
    victims of domestic violence; effective for state social workers in 2001, effective for other
    workers when their contracts are negotiated following October 25, 2001 during the following
    two years.
    Note: For some years before the 2001 benefits to state workers, management had sick and
    bereavement leave benefits.


Ann Arbor, Michigan (1991)
    Note: All Michigan governmental benefit plans for same-sex couples were briefly voided by the
    2005 anti-marriage constitutional amendment.

Ann Arbor public school district, Michigan (2000)
    Benefits: Medical, dental. For same-sex only. Implemented 2000.
    Note: All Michigan governmental benefit plans for same-sex couples were briefly voided by the
    2005 state anti-marriage constitutional amendment.

Detroit, Michigan
    Benefits: Medical, dental, vision. For same-sex and any under 65-year-old blood relative
    qualifying as employee’s IRS dependent.
    Note: All Michigan governmental benefit plans for same-sex couples were briefly voided by the
    2005 state anti-marriage constitutional amendment.
        See “Benefits Denied” below: Michigan

East Lansing, Michigan
    Note: All Michigan governmental benefit plans for same-sex couples were briefly voided by the
    2005 state anti-marriage constitutional amendment.
        See “Benefits Denied” below: Michigan

Ingham County, Michigan (2003)
    Benefits: Same-sex only. Effective Jan. 1, 2003.
    Note: Board of Commissioners voted on December 10, 2002 to extend same-sex benefits to some
    county employees. It was part of a package of changes in benefits and pay increases for
    non-union employees.
    Note: All Michigan governmental benefit plans for same-sex couples were briefly voided by the
    2005 state anti-marriage constitutional amendment.
        See “Benefits Denied” below: Michigan

Kalamazoo, Michigan (June 1, 2000)
    Note: All Michigan governmental benefit plans for same-sex couples were briefly voided by the
    2005 state anti-marriage constitutional amendment.
        See “Benefits Denied” below: Michigan

Washtenaw County, Michigan (March 1, 2001)
    Benefits: Medical, dental, optical; possibly only for same-sex couples.
    Note: All Michigan governmental benefit plans for same-sex couples were briefly voided by the
    2005 state anti-marriage constitutional amendment.
        See “Benefits Denied” below: Michigan

Wayne County, Michigan
    Note: All Michigan governmental benefit plans for same-sex couples were briefly voided by the
    2005 state anti-marriage constitutional amendment.
        See “Benefits Denied” below: Michigan

    In 2013, Minnesota gained extensive benefits through full, legal marriage for same-sex couples.

Minneapolis, Minnesota (2002)
    Note: All business contracted for more than $100,000 with Minneapolis
    will be required to provide same-and opposite-sex domestic partner benefits to their
    employees within a year. Adopted by the City Council on Dec. 13, 2002. The ordinance contains
    many exceptions, including development contracts, faith-based organizations, and businesses
    with 21 or fewer employees. Ironically, the city itself cannot provide employee benefits
    because state law forbids it.

Minneapolis Public Library, Minnesota

Minneapolis School District, Minnesota

Minnesota Senate (senators and staff) (2002)
    Benefits: Same-sex only; senate approved January 29, 2002.
    Note: House Republican leaders object to benefits, refusing to extend them to House

St. Paul, Minnesota


No known benefits.


No known benefits.


Missoula County, Montana (April 2003)
    Benefits: Implemented April 2003.


No known benefits.


    In 2014, Nevada gained extensive benefits through full, legal marriage for same-sex couples.

Previously no known benefits.

New Hampshire

    In 2009, New Hampshire gained extensive benefits through full, legal marriage for same-sex couples.
        [Please see our article: New Hampshire Offers Legal Marriage]

Concord School District, New Hampshire (2002)
    Benefits: Medical. For same-sex only. Implemented September 1, 2002.

Echo Consulting Services, New Hampshire

New Hampshire School Administrative Unit 34 (September 20, 2005)
    Benefits: Covers school districts in Deering, Hillsborough, Windsor, Washington.
    Note: Employees may add domestic partner insurance coverage at their own expense.

Northwood, New Hampshire (June 2005)
    Benefits: Medical, dental insurance plan “rider”; costs partner, not the town;
    affidavit required; effective July 1, 2005.
    Note: Benefit was sparked by an employee’s inquiry about obtaining partner benefits. In
    January 2005, Selectmen decided by majority vote not to implement a health rider for 2005,
    but revisit it later. However, a group of citizens circulated a petition to address the issue
    at the March town meeting. Voters approved implementation of the rider. For Northwood to
    implement the rider plan, the town needs 75 percent participation by employees who have
    live-in partners.
    As of June 17, 2005, the town had three employees who were not married - two of them
    need to participate in order to implement the program. Only one of those employees had a
    live-in partner, and that couple may be getting married soon. The town recently offered
    vision health care, but was unable to get the numbers needed to participate in that plan.

Timberland, New Hampshire

West Lebanon, New Hampshire
    Benefits: Medical.

New Jersey

    In 2013, New Jersey gained extensive benefits through full, legal marriage for same-sex couples.

New Jersey State
    “Domestic Partnership Act”
    Benefits: Provides hospital visitation and decision-making rights, an inheritance tax
    exemption, and a state income tax deduction for dependents. Partners of state employees get
    medical and pension coverage. Private employers are not obligated to provide medical, but all
    insurance companies must make such coverage available to employers who wish to make it part
    of their employee benefits. The Act also outlaws discrimination against domestic partners.
    Applies to same-sex couples and opposite-sex couples 62 and older. Effective June 2004)
    Note: Required to cohabit, show proof of joint financial status or property ownership or
    designation of the partner as the beneficiary in a retirement plan or will; these items are
    not required of legal marriage.
        [See: New Jersey: Domestic Partnership Act]

Bergen County, New Jersey

Berkeley Township, New Jersey (2006)
    Benefits: Medical for all active and retired employees.
    Note: Required to register as New Jersey domestic partners; must share a residence and are
    “jointly responsible for each other’s common welfare” through financial
    arrangements or joint ownership of real and personal property. Township Council unanimously
    voted for benefits on February 14, 2006.

Brick, (Ocean County), New Jersey (2006)
    Benefits: Medical, pension. Voted for benefits on February 7, 2006.

Camden County, New Jersey (January 2006)
    Benefits: Medical and pension. Camden County Board of Chosen Freeholders voted on January 19,

Gloucester County, New Jersey
    Benefits: Bereavement and/or family illness leave; for CWA Local 1085.

Haddon Township, New Jersey (2006)
    Benefits: Pension benefits. Township commissioners voted for Medical benefits on April 26,

Hudson County, New Jersey

Jackson Township, New Jersey (2006)
    Benefits: Medical, pension. The Jackson Township Committee voted 4-0 to grant the domestic
    partner benefits on February 6, 2006.
    Note: The state pension system for most municipal employees already permits them to leave
    their pension benefits to whomever they choose, the Jackson resolution, in effect, extended
    the same option to employees of their Police Department.

Jersey City, New Jersey (September 2005)
    Benefits: Medical benefits offered to city employees who register as domestic partners with
    the state. As of October 12, 2005, pension benefits were included.

Mainland Regional High School Board of Education, New Jersey (2006)
    Benefits: Medical
    Note: Must register as New Jersey Domestic Partners.
        [See our articles: New Jersey: Domestic Partnership Act and Registration for Domestic Partnership]

Maplewood, New Jersey (2004)

Mercer County, New Jersey (November 2005)
    Benefits: Medical and pension benefits for same-sex partners registered under the
    state’s Domestic Partnership Act. The Mercer freeholders voted 6-0 to pass the
    resolution to provide the benefits.

Mercer County, New Jersey

Monmouth County, New Jersey

Morris County, New Jersey (2006)
    Benefits: Medical, pension; for registered domestic partners of county employees. Passed by
    unanimous vote of the all-Republican freeholder board on February 28, 2006.

Mount Holly, New Jersey
    Benefits: Pension benefits.

Mount Laurel, New Jersey
    Benefits: Pension benefits.

Ocean County, New Jersey (January 2006)
    Benefits: Extended pension benefits. For same-sex couples 18+ or opposite-sex couples 62+.
    Note: Bowing to political pressure, the freeholders in a special meeting on January 25, 2006,
    adopted a resolution authorizing county employees in the Police and Fire Retirement System to
    leave benefits to a domestic partner. The vote came only after state Sen. Andrew R. Ciesla
    (R-Ocean) announced on January 13, 2006, he intended to author legislation that would require
    equal treatment of beneficiaries of the state pension systems.
    The pressure was a result of widespread publicity regarding a Police and Fire Retirement
    System employee, Lt. Laurel Hester - a dying former investigator for the Ocean County
    Prosecutor’s Office. She wished to leave her spouse, Stacie Andree, the ability to keep
    their home, which would have been impossible without being able to name her partner as
    beneficiary, which state law permits. Since October 2005, the freeholders had steadfastly
    refused to extend the pension system to non-spouse partners. The change followed several
    bitter meetings, including one held in early January at which Steven Goldstein, chairman of
    Garden State Equality, a gay and lesbian activist group, vowed to solicit funds nationally to
    unseat the all-Republican freeholder board.]

Passaic County, New Jersey (January 18, 2006)
    Benefits: Medical, dental; Freeholders voted 7-0 for the benefits, effective immediately,
    January 18, 2006; couples must register as domestic partners with a municipal Vital
    Statistics Office; employees already could leave pension benefits to anyone, regardless of
    sexual orientation.

Pine Hill Board of Education, New Jersey
    Benefits: Medical and pension.

Plainfield, New Jersey (2006)
    Benefits: Medical, pensions. The City Council voted unanimously on March 20, 2006, for a
    measure for medical coverage, and a measure for pensions. There was no opposition.

Princeton Borough, New Jersey (2004)

South Orange, New Jersey (2004)

Stone Harbor, New Jersey
    Benefits: Pension benefits.

Stratford, New Jersey
    Benefits: Pension benefits.

Union County, New Jersey (2005)

Westville (borough), New Jersey (January 2006)
    Benefits: Medical, pension benefits.

New Mexico

    In 2013, New Mexico gained extensive benefits through full, legal marriage for same-sex couples.

New Mexico State Employees
    Benefits: Domestic partnership benefits to state employees.

Albuquerque, New Mexico

New York

    In 2011, New York gained extensive benefits through full, legal marriage for same-sex couples.
        [Please see our article: New York Offers Legal Marriage]

Also, New York State recognizes legal same-sex marriages from other states. (2004)

New York State Employees
    Benefits: Medical; for state workers.

Albany, New York

Albany County, New York

Brooklyn Public Library, New York
    Note: Requires city registration plus a “Financial Responsibility Form” indicating
    couples either have wills in each other’s favor, share a bank account, are on one lease,
    are on a joint credit card, or have Durable Powers of Attorney.

Clarkstown School District, Rockland County, New York
    Benefits: Medical. For same- and opposite-sex couples. Required to cohabit and to be “be
    mutually interdependent financially” - not required of legally married partners.

Eastchester School District, New York (2003)

Greenburgh, New York (2002)

Ithaca, New York
    Benefits: Bereavement and/or family illness leave.

Nassau County, New York (June 2004)

New Rochelle, New York (May 19, 2005)
    Benefits: Required to register with the Westchester County Clerk and affirm they have been
    together at least three months - cohabit time not required of legally married couples.
    Note: On December 2005, four residents sued the city in federal court to end health benefits
    for unmarried domestic partners of city employees, using the same attorney, Raymond Belair,
    who fought same-sex partner benefits in Eastchester. The Town Board rescinded that benefit in
    January 2005 before the suit came to trial.
        [See Eastchester under Benefits Denied below]

New York State Attorney’s Office
    Benefits: Non-union staff only; includes attorneys.

New York, New York (1993)
    Benefits: Domestic partner benefits for all municipal workers. First implemented 1993.
    Expanded in June 1998, gives all the registered domestic partners full equality with married
    Note: City registration not enough to qualify for benefits; also must sign affidavit and
    prove financial interdependence w/lease or mortgage in both names, joint banking/credit card,
    etc.; none are requirements of legal marriage. Benefits survived two court challenges by Pat
    Robertson-founded American Center for Law & Justice.
        [See the official New York City Web site: Domestic Partnership: NYC Marriage Bureau]

Rochester, New York

Rockland County, New York (2003)

Southern Westchester, New York (2003)
    Note: 23 public school districts participate in an insurance cooperative.

Syracuse Public School Teachers, New York (2007)
    Benefits: Medical, prescription, dental, personal and bereavement leave. For same-sex
    domestic partners of Syracuse Teachers Association members. School Board approved,
    October 10, 2007. Enacted, January 1, 2008.
    Note: The union already covered vision benefits for same-sex partners.

Suffolk County, New York (2004)

Westchester County, New York

North Carolina

Carrboro, North Carolina
    Note: Benefits survived hostile law suit in 1999.

Chapel Hill, North Carolina
    Benefits: Medical, sick leave.
    Note: Benefits survived hostile law suit in 1999.

Durham, North Carolina (2002)
    Benefits: Medical, dental. For same-sex only. Required to cohabit - not required of legal
    marriage. City council approved on October 12, 2002.

Durham County, North Carolina (2003)
    Benefits: Medical. For same-sex only. Approved on September 2, 2003.

Orange County, North Carolina

North Dakota

No known benefits.

Northern Mariana Islands

No known benefits.


Athens, Ohio (2011)
    Benefits: ?
    City Council established the domestic partner registry.

Cincinnati, Ohio (2012)
    Benefits: ?
    Established by the City Council.

Cleveland, Ohio (2008)
    For both same-and opposite-sex, 18 or older, neither may be married, or in existing domestic
    partnership with someone else. $55 fee. Couples do not have to live in Cleveland.
    City Council voted 13-7 for the law on December 08, 2008. Mayor Frank Jackson approved and registration
    became available on May 7, 2009.
    While non-binding, it could prompt employers, hospitals and other organizations to offer
    rights and obligations typically available only to those with a legal marriage. Or not.
    Note 1: On October 1, 2010, in a unanimous decision, the Court of Appeals of Ohio, Eighth Appellate
    District, upheld a lower court’s dismissal of a lawsuit brought by an anti-gay group, Alliance
    Defense Fund, that attempted to strip away the newly enacted domestic partnership registry for
    same-sex couples and their families.
    Note 2: Efforts by local pastors to eliminate the registry failed to gather enough signatures
    to place the issue on the ballot. 
        Division of Assessments and Licenses - Domestic Partner Registry
        Cleveland’s Domestic Partner Application Form

Cleveland Heights, Ohio (2002)
    Benefits: Medical. For same-sex only. Voted into law April 15, 2002.

Columbus, Ohio (2012)
    Benefits: ?
    Established by the City Council.

Cuyahoga County, Ohio (2012)
    Medical benefits for the same-sex partner of a County employees. Same-sex only.
    Both county employees and their partners must submit sworn affidavits, stating they have:
      • Shared a home for at least six months (cohabitation not required of married couples)
      • Would marry if such a union were not illegal in Ohio
      • That they take responsibility for each other’s welfare, and
      • They intend to continue their “exclusive, committed, and intimate relationship for life.”
    Same-sex couples must provide three forms of evidence, including:
      • Joint ownership of real estate or joint tenancy or a residential lease
      • Joint ownership of a vehicle
      • Joint ownership of a bank account
      • Joint loans
      • A will, life insurance or retirement plan designating the domestic partner as primary beneficiary
      • A certificate or marriage or civil union from another jurisdiction.
    Employees need to notify the county human resources department within 15 days of breaking up, for
    termination of benefits.
    Voted into law February 14, 2012, and likely became active in April.
    Six Democrats voted for the measure. Three Republicans and one Democrat voted against.

Dayton, Ohio (2012)
    Benefits: ?
    Established by the City Commission.

Oberlin, Ohio (2012)
    Benefits: ?

Toledo, Ohio (2007)
    Benefits: ?

Yellow Springs, Ohio (2012)
    Benefits: ?


    In 2014, Oklahoma gained extensive benefits through full, legal marriage for same-sex couples.

Previously no known benefits.


    In 2014, Oregon gained extensive benefits through full, legal marriage for same-sex couples.

Oregon State
    On April 27, 2009, House Bill 2839 passed which expands the legal ramifications
    of a domestic partnership to include:
    * Taxation and health insurance benefits and entitlements;
    * Taking in a domestic partner’s surname;
    * Clarification of “domestic partnership” and “civil unions” from other states, so that Oregon
      will recognise them as “domestic partnerships.”
        [See the State’s bill: House Bill 2839 - PDF file]

Oregon State Employees (1998)
    Benefits: Medical, dental, life insurance.
    Note: All state, county and city employers in Oregon are constitutionally required to provide
    benefits, due to court ruling in December 1998.

Corvallis, Oregon

Eugene Water & Electric Board (EWEB) Eugene, Oregon
    Benefits: Medical.

Gresham, Oregon (1999)
    Benefits: For same-sex only. Implemented March 1, 1999.

Multnomah County, Oregon
    Benefits: Medical coverage for non-union)

Portland, Oregon (February 2002)
    Benefits: Police and firefighters are eligible to collect pension benefits, should their
    partners be killed in the line of duty; adopted February 13, 2002.


    In 2014, Pennsylvania gained extensive benefits through full, legal marriage for same-sex couples.

Lower Merton School District, Ardmore, Pennsylvania
    Benefits: Medical. For same-sex only.

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (May 7, 1998)
    Benefits: Same-sex only; medical, family leave; choice of any individual, regardless of
    relationship as beneficiary for pension benefits.
    Note: 1996 executive benefits order for administrative and executive employees was held up by
    a city counsel member’s objections. The 1998 Philadelphia law extending benefits to
    city workers’ same-sex partners was struck down on August 28, 2002 by a Pennsylvania
    Commonwealth Court panel. The law, called the “Life Partnership” ordinance, had
    amended the definition of the term “marital status” to include “life
    partner.” Seven city taxpayers sued, charging that the city did not have the power
    “to create a new marital status.” The court ruled that the law ran counter to what
    the state legislature intended the definition of marriage to be, even though the law and
    benefits do not change the definition of marriage in the slightest. On October 8, 2003, the
    State Supreme Court agreed to decide whether Philadelphia may grant benefits to same-sex
    partners of city employees. As of 2003, about 350 couples have registered as domestic
    partners since the laws took effect. the state Supreme Court found for the city, on December
    6, 2004, ruling that the laws gave same-sex couples “very limited rights that do not
    even begin to mirror the extensive fabric of rights” married couples enjoy.

Puerto Rico

No known benefits.

Rhode Island

    In 2013, Rhode Island gained extensive benefits through full, legal marriage for same-sex couples.

Rhode Island State Employees (2001)
    Note: In January 2006, more than 200 domestic partners of state employees received letters
    telling them - for the first time - that their medical benefits are considered taxable income
    by the IRS. The state admits they blundered not ordering tax deductions from paychecks. The
    Carcieri administration said it wouldn’t be fair for taxpayers pay the back taxes, so it
    is offering no-interest loans and extended payment plans. The no-interest loans may also be
    considered taxable income by the IRS.

Providence, Rhode Island (December 2001)
    Benefits: Police officers added to the domestic partnership benefits plans in December 2000.
    Firefighters, teachers, laborers already covered; possibly only for same-sex couples.

South Carolina

No known benefits.

South Dakota

No known benefits.


No known benefits.


Austin, Texas (September 2006)
    For city employees. Both same-and opposite-sex couples. Required to reside in Texas.
    Benefits: medical, vision, dental, life insurance, FLEXTRA, HealthPLUS (Wellness Program),
    Employee Assistance Program (EAP), Prepaid Legal Services. Coverage for unmarried children
    under 25.
    Registration form:

Austin Independent School District, Texas
    Offered medical benefits for domestic partner employees in August 2013.

Bexar County, Texas
    For city employees. Both opposite- and same-sex couples.

Dallas, Texas
    For city employees. Both opposite- and same-sex couples.

Dallas County, Texas
    For city employees. Both opposite- and same-sex couples.

El Paso, Texas
    At least one partner must be employed by the city. For both opposite- and same-sex couples.

El Paso County, Texas
    For city employees. Both opposite- and same-sex couples.

Fort Worth
    For city employees. Both opposite- and same-sex couples.

Houston, Texas
    For city employees. Both opposite- and same-sex couples.

San Antonio, Texas
    At least one partner must be employed by the city.
    Domestic partner benefits, including insurance, is offered for same-or-opposite sex domestic partner.
    Also included is a domestic partner’s child.
    Sequirements include: a affidavit, 6 month cohabitation period, 2 additional pieces of proof of domestic partnership,
    such as joint mortgage or rental contract, joint bank account, joint credit card, etc.
    Note: Sexual orientation is included in the city’s employment anti-discrimination policy.

Travis County, Texas
    No residency requirement.
    Benefits: Bereavement and/or family illness leave.
    Benefits via registration with Travis County (See: Registration for Domestic Partnership)


    In 2013, Utah gained extensive benefits through full, legal marriage for same-sex couples.

Salt Lake City, Utah (March 2006)
    Benefts: Medical; effective March 2006.
    Note: Mayor Rocky Anderson’s executive order, on Sept. 21, 2005, changed the city’s
    contract with the Public Employees Health Program (PEHP) to offer medical insurance benefits
    to a domestic partner of a Salt Lake City employee. PEHP’s governing body, The Utah
    State Retirement Board, petitioned the court for an opinion as to whether it would be legal
    to offer such benefits. The Salt Lake City Council then adopted an ordinance on February 7,
    2006, that provided a different package; one that permitted city workers to enroll an
    “adult designee” rather than a “domestic partner” in the city health
    insurance plan. Anderson vetoed that measure, but the council unanimously overrode it on
    February 23, and the “adult designee” ordinance now stands.
    Earlier, three Salt Lake City residents, and an Arizona-based Christian group, the Alliance
    Defense Fund, filed a lawsuit opposing Anderson’s order regarding domestic partners.
    They alleged that the benefits violate state law and the 2005 anti-gay, anti-marriage state
    constitutional amendment.
    That lawsuit became moot once the city council enacted the program for adult designees, which
    supersedes Anderson’s plan for domestic partners.
    During the 2006 state legislative session, Rep. LaVar Christensen (R-Draper) sponsored HB327
    that would have limited how the city offered such benefits, but that bill died.
    On May 12, 2006, Third District Judge Stephen Roth issued a five-page opinion stating that it
    is not illegal for Salt Lake City to offer medical benefits to “adult designees” of
    city workers who live in the same household but are not married to the employee. When
    employers offer such benefits it does not violate state law or the Utah Constitution. An
    “adult designee” could be a sister or brother, a parent, a romantic partner or
    friend. The ordinance also applies to the designee’s children. Roth declared that
    providing employment benefits does not create, in the words of the state’s anti-marriage
    statute, “any legal status, rights, benefits or duties that are substantially equivalent
    to” marriage. Nor do such job perks give “legal effect” to a nonmarital union,
    as barred by the constitutional amendment.]


    In 2009, Arizona gained extensive benefits through full, legal marriage for same-sex couples.
        [Please see our article: Vermont Legal Marriage]

Vermont State Employees
    Benefits: All state workers; implemented in 1994)

Burlington, Vermont (2000)

Middlebury, Vermont
    Benefits: Medical, family leave.

Virgin Islands

No known benefits.


    In 2014, Virginia gained extensive benefits through full, legal marriage for same-sex couples.

Previously no known benefits.


    In 2012, Washington gained extensive benefits through full, legal marriage for same-sex couples.

Washington State (April 21, 2007 - expanded June 12, 2008)
    Benefits: Covers many of the spousal rights that are offered to legally married
    opposite-sex couples. For same-sex partners, as well as opposite-sex couples in which at
    least one partner is past 62.
        [See the State’s form: “Declaration of State Registered Domestic Partnership”]
        [Also see our article: Domestic Partnership: The Washington Approach]

Washington State Employees (October 23, 2000)
    Benefits: Medical; all state workers.
    Note: State school teachers’ benefits are bargained locally and are not affected by this
    benefit plan; affidavit requirements may include both partners being over 18, and sharing a
    residence and finances for at least six months. Not required of legally married partners.

Anacortes, Washington (2004)
    Benefits: Medical. Voted December 2004.

Bellevue, Washington (June 2007)
    Benefits: Medical, dental, vision, life insurance, mental-health counseling and family leave.
    For same- and opposite-sex and elderly couples.
    Note: The City Council voted 7-0 for the benefits on June 4, 2007. Implementation possible
    by August 2007, depending on the speed of the human-resources department and negotiations
    with with employee unions. The action was triggered by a lawsuit; one of the plaintiffs was a
    firefighter who was not given paid leave to attend the funeral of his partner’s father.

Bellingham, Washington (2006)
    Benefits: Medical ($40/month).
    Note: Approved by the Bellingham City Council on February 6, 2006. Benefit coverage managed
    through the Association of Washington Cities’ trust fund, which began granting domestic
    partner benefits in 2003.

Burien, Washington (2002)
    Benefits: Medical. For same- and opposite-sex couples. Implemented January 1, 2002.
    Note: Offers reimbursements equal to premiums paid for spouse and children of married

Des Moines, Washington (2006)
    Benefits: Medical; For same- and opposite-sex couples. Required to cohabit one year, show
    they have a substantive relationship and share expenses - not required of married couples.
    Note: Instituted by City Counsel vote on December 14, 2006.

Edmonds, Washington (2007)
    Benefits: Medical; for same-sex or senior couples only.
    Note: City Council voted 6-0, November 27, 2007. Couples must be registered with the state as
    domestic partners.

Edmonds School District, Washington

King County, Washington (2003)
    Benefits: ?
    Note: All employers contracting with the county for more than $25,000,
    who offer benefits to legally married partners, must extend the same benefits to same-sex
    domestic partners. Adopted December 15, 2003.

Newcastle, Washington (May 2007)
    Benefits: Medical.
    Affidavit required. Benefits were approved on June 5 - by a 7-0 vote - effective June 13,

Olympia, Washington (1994)
    Benefits: Same-sex only.
    Note: All contractors who do at least $50,000 worth of business with
    the city, and who already offer benefits for their employees’ married spouses, are
    required to extend equal benefits to domestic partners. Implemented 2004.

Peirce County, Washington (2007)
    Benefits: For both same- and opposite-sex couples county employees. Passed as the Domestic
    Partnership Ordinance by the County Council in December 2007.

Seattle, Washington (June 1, 2000)
    Benefits: Medical, dental for city employees.
    Note: All employers contracting with Seattle for more than $30,000, who
    offer benefits to legally married partners, must extend the same benefits to same-sex
    domestic partners. Employers may add more specifications for domestic partnerships to qualify
    than Seattle’s domestic partners registry requires. Adopted November 1999; implemented
    June 1, 2000

Seattle City Light Co., Washington

Seattle Public Library, Washington
    Benefits: Medical, dental.

Seattle - Municipality of Metropolitan Seattle (Metro), Washington

Skagit 911 Emergency Services, Skagit, Washington
    Benefits: Medical.

Snohomish County, Washington (January 1, 2002)
    Benefits: Medical.

Snohomish County Public Utility District, Washington

Snohomish Health District, Washington
    Benefits: Medical; same-sex only.

Spokane, Washington

Tacoma, Washington

Tumwater, Washington (February 6, 2001)
    Benefits: Medical.
    Note 1: Offers reimbursements equal to premiums paid for spouse and children of married
    Note 2: All employers contracting with Tumwater for more than $50,000,
    who offer benefits to legally married partners, must extend the same benefits to same-and
    opposite-sex domestic partners.

Vancouver, Washington (1998)
    Benefits: Medical, sick leave.
    Note: Survived legal challenge in Washington Supreme Court August 23, 2001; argued by the
    Northstar Legal Center, a radical, right-wing law firm in Fairfax, Virginia.

West Virginia

    In 2014, West Virginia gained extensive benefits through full, legal marriage for same-sex couples.

Previously no known benefits.


    In 2014, Wisconsin gained extensive benefits through full, legal marriage for same-sex couples.

Wisconsin State (June 29, 2009)
    Benefits: certain dependent or survivor benefits for employee benefits, health and mental health
    and after-death decision making, probate matters, property matters, motor vehicle titles,
    hospitial visitation rights, end of life decision making, to take Family Medical Leave (FMLA)
    to care for a sick or injured partner, or non-biological or non-adopted child. It also allows
    state government workers, some state unions, as well as University of Wisconsin faculty
    and staff, to include domestic partners as part of group health insurance and retirement
    survivor benefits.
    Note 2: The anti-gay Wisconsin Family Action filed a lawsuit against the state, in 2009, arguing
    that the domestic partnership law is a violation of the 2006 anti-gay constitutional amendment
    which bars marriage equality and recognition of any legal status that is “substantially similar”
    to marriage. After the State Attorney General announced that his office would not defend the
    state against the claim, Governor Doyle appointed special counsel to represent the state. The
    Wisconsin Supreme Court rejected the case.
    Note 2: On August 18, 2010, the Wisconsin Family Action and the Alliance Defense Fund filed a new
    challenge to the domestic partnership registry.
        [Also see our article: Domestic Partnership: The Wisconsin Approach]

Dane County, Wisconsin (2000)
    Benefits: Medical. For same- and opposite-sex couples on the insistence of county
    workers’ unions. Benefits approved June 12, 2000.
    Note: Required to have a joint lease or a will designating a partner as a beneficiary - not
    required of legally married partners.

Dane Regional Planning Commission, Wisconsin
    Benefits: Bereavement and/or family illness leave.

Madison, Wisconsin
    Benefits: Medical to both same-and opposite-sex partners.
    Note: Madison participates in the Group Insurance Board covering state and local government
    workers, which does not recognize domestic partners. Therefore, reimbursements are made to
    partnered employees, equivalent to that which is provided to a legal spouse.

Madison Metropolitan School District, Wisconsin
    Benefits: Medical.

Shorewood Hills (Village), Wisconsin
    Benefits: Use of village pool.

Wisconsin Education Association Council (WEAC)
    Benefits: Medical.


    In 2014, Wyoming gained extensive benefits through full, legal marriage for same-sex couples.

Previously no known benefits.

Canadian Governments
All federal employees have benefits.

In May 1998, Nova Scotia became the first Canadian province to recognize same-sex couples as
equal to opposite-sex. This was prompted by the Ontario Court of Appeal decision that the federal
government’s definition of spouse in the Income Tax Act is unconstitutional because it
excluded gay men and lesbians.

Canada now offers legal marriage to same-sex couples.
        [Please see our article: Canada Offers Legal Marriage]

Barrie, Ontario
British Columbia, Province of
    [Recognizes gay and lesbian parents for child support, custody, access]
British Columbia Transit
British Columbia Hydro
Brampton Hydro-Electric Commission
Burnaby, District of
Burnaby Public Library
Carleton Board of Education, Ottawa, Ontario
Coquitlam, District of
Delta, Corporation of
Delta Municipality Police
Department of National Defense Ottawa, Ontario
    [As of December 1996; same-sex couples are recognized by the Canadian military and that
    same-sex spouses are entitled to the military members benefits, providing that the couple
    declare common-law status, and declare that they are living together in a long term
Edmonton, Sask.
Halifax, N.S.
Hamilton Public Library, Ontario
Kanata, Ontario
Kingston, Ontario
Kitchener-Waterloo, Regional Municipality of,  Ontario
Library of Parliament
London, Ontario
London Board of Education, Ontario
Manitoba, Province of
Manitoba Hydro
Metro Toronto Council, Ontario
Montréal, P.Q.
New Brunswick, Province of
    (Dependent life, voluntary accidental death and dismemberment, medical, dental, but not to
    long term disability or pension; applies to community colleges, public libraries and
    hospitals, but not schools)
    [Required to have cohabited continuously in a “conjugal” relationship for at least
    one year and to have been publicly represented as employee’s spouse]
New Westminster, B.C.
North Vancouver, B.C.
North Vancouver Public Library Board, B.C.
North West Territories
North York Board of Education
Northwest Territories Power Corporation
Nova Scotia, Province of
    (Medical, dental, spousal leave; all civil service and teacher pension plans)
Ontario, Province of
    (All government workers)
Ontario’s 260 provincial court judges
    (Benefits included for “Either of two persons of the opposite sex, or the same sex, who
    live in a conjugal relationship outside of marriage.”)
Ontario Hydro
Ottawa, Ontario
Ottawa Board of Education, Ontario
Ottawa-Carleton, Regional Municipality of, Ontario
Port Moody
Prince Rupert, B.C.
Quebec, Province of
    [May be the first Province to offer benefits; December 18, 1982]
Regina, Sask.
Richmond, Ontario
Richmond Public Library, Ontario
Saskatchewan, Province of
School District 36 (Surrey), Coquitlam, B.C.
    (Medical, dental)
School District 43, Coquitlam, B.C.
School District 44, North Vancouver, B.C.
Toronto, Ontario
Toronto Board of Education, Ontario
Toronto Hydro, Ontario
Toronto Public Library, Ontario
Treasury Board of Canada, Ottawa, Ontario
    (Bereavement, family-related responsibilities and relocation of spouse leave; foreign
    service, isolated post and relocation directive)
Vancouver, B.C.
Vancouver Parks & Recreation, B.C.
Vancouver Public Library, B.C.
Vancouver Regional District, Greater, B.C.
Victoria, B.C.
Winnipeg, Ontario
Worker’s Compensation Board of Nova Scotia,
    Halifax, N.S.
Yellowknife Education District No.1 of the
    Northwest Territories, Yellowknife, NWT
    [Required to have cohabited for at least two years]
Yukon Territory

Global Governmental Legal Registration

Belgium“Statutory Cohabitation Contracts”
      Belgium also has full, legal marriage: Belgium Offers Legal Marriage
ColombiaCommon Law Marriage
Czech RepublicRegistered Partnership Bill
France“Civil Solidarity Pact”
Germany“Life Partnerships”
Great Britain“Civil Partnerships”
New Zealand“Civil Union Act”
Scandinavia“Registered Partnerships”
      Includes: Denmark, Finland, Greenland, Iceland, The Netherlands, Norway, and Sweden
      The Netherlands also has full, legal marriage: Netherlands Offers Legal Marriage
Switzerland“Registered Partnership”
Tasmania“Relationships Act”

Benefits Offered, Then Denied

Anchorage and the State of Alaska
    Note: Following a voter-passed constitutional amendment blocking state recognition of
    marriage for same-sex partners, city employee benefits were denied in Anchorage. Nine
    same-sex couples sued in 1999, demanding medical insurance and pension benefits. Superior
    Court judge Stephanie Joannides ruled, on November 16, 2001, that the city of Anchorage and
    the state of Alaska do not have to extend benefits to gay or lesbian partners of employees
    and retirees. Judge Joannides ruled that same-sex couples fall into the same legal category
    as unmarried male-female couples, and that neither is entitled to city or state benefits
    under current law. The Alaska Supreme Court ruled October 28, 2005, that it was
    unconstitutional to bar benefits to the same-sex partners of public employees. In overturning
    a lower court’s ruling, the court found that “the public employers’ spousal
    limitations violate the Alaska Constitution’s equal protection clause.” Governor
    Frank Murkowski, vowed to push for an amendment to the state constitution to stop the change
    in law. State Sen. Fred Dyson (R- Eagle River) said he will introduce legislation to amend
    the constitution.
Arlington County, Virginia (1997)
    Benefits Denied: Medical, vision.
    Note: Circuit Court Judge Benjamin Kendrick declared the benefits, available since 1997,
    illegal on March 4, 1999, but stayed the order expecting the County to appeal the ruling to
    the State Supreme Court. The Virginia Supreme Court unanimously struck down Arlington County
    employees’ domestic partner benefits, on April 21, as exceeding the county’s
    authority to define “dependents.”]
Austin (Travis County), Texas (1993)
    Note: In 1993, the Austin City Council approved domestic partnership benefits for city
    employees. In 1994, radical right wing groups launched a successful campaign (Prop. 22) which
    rescinded benefits for both same-and opposite-sex partners of municipal employees. A suit was
    filed on behalf of three couples who had registered - results unknown.
Brookline, Massachusetts
    [see Massachusetts below]
Boston, Massachusetts (1998)
    Benefits Denied: Medical.
    Note: Benefits were vetoed by Governor Paul Cellucci, August 4, 1998, but were established
    the same day by Mayor Thomas Menino’s executive order - effective while Menino remains
    in office. Boston may proceed without state approval; four other Massachusetts cities already
    have enacted similar measures. Ten Boston taxpayers - with financial support from the
    Catholic Action League and Pat Robertson’s Virginia-based American Center for Law and
    Justice - launched a court attack, Dec. 2, 1998, against the executive order. On Dec. 11,
    1998, the court ruled the city was illegally exceeding its authority by expanding the
    state’s definition of “dependents.” The case was appealed, then lost on July
    8, 1999.
    [see Massachusetts below]
Cambridge, Massachusetts
    Benefits Denied: 71 employees had been receiving benefits worth $2,790 each, which made up
    only 0.0086 percent of the city’s $23 million annual health care benefits cost.
    Note: The suit, brought by Pat Robertson’s Virginia-based American Center for Law and
    Justice resulted in a loss of benefits to Cambridge employees on November 2, 2000. The ACLJ
    suit asked the Middlesex Superior Court to strike down, not only Cambridge’s employee
    benefits, but also its domestic partners registry, which gives couples rights to hospital
    visitation and to review the school records of a partner’s biological child. The
    registry remained intact, as well as city workers’ partnership family, sick and
    bereavement leave.
    [see Massachusetts below]
Colorado Springs, Colorado (September 2002)
    Benefit Denied: Medical, family-leave, implemented September 2002 - removed April 22, 2003
    after the City Council voted to discontinue benefits in 2004.
    [All five newly-elected council members, as well as the new mayor, Lionel Rivera, had pledged
    in their recent campaigns to rescind the benefits. One other older member, Rivera, was one of
    the four votes initially against the benefits. He said that there was no legal requirement
    for the city to offer same-sex benefits because “gay marriage” was illegal in
    Colorado. Rivera also cited falling city revenue as a reason for its removal. However,
    Councilman Richard Skorman, the single vote against removing benefits, offered his
    councilman’s salary of $6,200 to pay for this year’s costs, about $6,700 for seven
    employees. David Sellon II, a lobbyist for gay employees in Colorado Springs, offered to pay
    next year’s costs, and the Rev. Nori Rost said her local congregation could cover the
    following year. Affidavit required cohabitation for at least a year, and the remarkable
    demand that “neither party is in the relationship for the purpose of obtaining
    benefits.” - never a requirement for legal marriage; Colorado Spring already gave
    benefits to opposite-sex partners who had become common-law partners. Two female couples sued
    for their benefits. On January 4, 2006, Fourth Judicial District Judge Richard Hall ruled
    that the city had no legal obligation to offer benefits to people who are not considered
    married under state law. Hall also wrote that while the suing couples claimed the City
    Council acted with malice in canceling the benefits, the court had no latitude to judge
    its motives. One of the plaintiffs Barbara Henson, explained one of her co-workers was
    allowed to take time off after her dog died, but Henson could not do so when Henson’s
    partner, Kaylynn LaGamma was hospitalized. The couples filed an appeal on February 17, 2006.
    The appeal was dropped, on September 6, 2006, after Kaylynn LaGamma said she did not have the
    energy to go on with the suit after her partner, former city dispatcher Barbara Henson, died
    in May 2006. A second couple had dropped out earlier.]
Columbus, Ohio (1998)
    Benefits Denied: Medical, dental, vision, prescriptions, sick/family leave.
    Note 1: benefits would have required an undesirable affidavit which demanded that the couple
    share a permanent residence and be financially interdependent - items not required of legally
    married partners.
    Note 2: The City Council voted unanimously on December 14, 1998 to extend spousal benefits to
    both same and opposite-sex domestic partners; the Council withdrew the benefits on February
    8, 1999 in the face of a highly divisive referendum scheduled for May 1999.
Eastchester (part of Westchester County), New York (1999-January 2005)
    Note: Dropped out of a new labor contract. The Civil Service Employees Association and the
    police union agreed to give up the benefits. In September 2000, the board, then led by
    Supervisor James Cavanaugh, unilaterally added the benefits for its employees. Current Town
    Supervisor Anthony Colavita, then a board member, approved the measure, but campaigned
    against it during his successful run against Cavanaugh in the 2003 Republican primary. He
    claimed that politics had nothing to do with the loss of the benefits in the new contracts:
    “They were on the table for bargaining like anything else. I was not condemning or
    condoning it. It was a matter of practicality.” He also said that: “It was not
    However, only one employee used the benefits - out of 163 employees in a town of 31,000
    people - at a cost of $6,120 a year. The rest of the employees cost the town $3 million.
Hennepin County, Minnesota (January 1991)
    Note: Benefits invalidated by 1994 court order.
Houston, Texas
    Note: In November 2001, voters passed - by 51.5 percent - a proposition that prevents the
    city from providing medical benefits to same-sex partners of employees.
Massachusetts Round-up
    Benefits Denied: About 100 Boston employees had enrolled their (mostly opposite-sex)
    partners, who lost their benefits.
    Note: The Massachusetts Supreme court ruled, July 8, 1999, that Boston overstepped the limits
    of state law when it extended domestic partner health benefits to its unmarried employees.
    The Boston suit was financed with support from the Catholic Action League and Pat
    Robertson’s Virginia-based American Center for Law and Justice. State law involved in
    this case - untouched for about 40 years - explicitly restrict health benefits local
    governments can offer their employees. This ruling applied to domestic partner benefits for
    government workers offered throughout the state. In the wake of the ruling, Brookline,
    Massachusetts rescinded their domestic partner benefits. Springfield, Massachusetts still
    offered benefits, however, the ACLJ made Springfield its next target.
The state of Michigan (October 2005)
    On December 3, 2004, Gov. Jennifer Granholm revoked benefits slated to begin for state
    workers on October 1, 2005. The stated basis for the unilateral breaking of the negotiated
    contracts was the November 2005 voter-approved amendment to the state constitution that bans
    same-sex marriage and “similar unions.” The amendment also signaled the end of
    health care, and other benefits, for the same-sex partners of public employees in Michigan.
    In response to a question about benefits for Kalamazoo city employees, Attorney General Mike
    Cox issued an opinion, on March 16, 2005, that benefits were abolished by the anti-marriage
    amendment. In the absence of a contrary opinion from a court, the attorney general’s
    interpretation of a law is generally binding on state agencies. An anonymous official in the
    Attorney General’s Office opined that the same legal theories would apply to public
    schools and universities which offer same-sex benefits.
    On September 27, 2005, Ingham County Circuit Court Judge Joyce Dragonchuk ruled that public
    employers are not prohibited from offering domestic partner benefits to employees. Judge
    Dragonchuk: “Health care benefits are not among the statutory rights or benefits of
    marriage. An individual does not receive health care benefits for his or her spouse
    as a matter of legal right upon getting married. … Health care benefits for a spouse are
    benefits of employment, not benefits of marriage.”
    The request for a declaratory judgment was filed by the American Civil Liberties Union of
    Michigan on behalf of 21 same-sex couples who were in danger of losing their health care
    benefits. Attorney General Cox appealed the ruling on September 30, 2005.
    On May 7, 2008, Michigan’s Supreme Court ruled that the state’s ban on same-sex marriage makes
    it illegal for public universities and other entities of state government to provide domestic
    partner benefits to the same-sex partner of an employee. After the lower court ruled that the
    marriage ban applies to benefits, some universities switched their benefits programs so that
    they were available not to domestic partners but to “other eligible individuals,” a category
    that could include same-sex partners, but would also include others who live with but are not
    legally related to their employees.
Minneapolis, Minnesota (January 1991)
    Benefits Denied: Cash payments until insurance could be arranged; excluded unmarried
    opposite-sex couples.
    Note: Benefits declared invalid by court, was appealed and lost January 30, 1995.
Minnesota (December 21, 2001)
    Note: House Republicans opposed the new contracts extending benefits to same-sex partners of
    state employees. They created state law to forbid domestic partner benefits being offered to
    state or local municipality workers.
New York City
    Benefits Denied: Medical, pension, retirement, disability and life insurance, leave policies,
    tuition reimbursement, legal assistance, dependent care insurance, moving expenses,
    membership discounts, and travel benefits. If a contractor can’t purchase domestic
    partner insurance from its carrier, it must compensate the employee.
    Note 1: The Equal Benefits Law, was approved by the City Council on October 26, 2004. The
    2,600 businesses and non-profit organizations that do more than $100,000 worth of contracts
    with NYC were to certify that they provide the same health and leave benefits to domestic
    partners of employees that they do to the married spouses of their workers.
    Note 2: The City Council overode Mayor Bloomberg’s veto, and was challenged by Bloomberg
    in a last ditch legal effort - a temporary restraining order - to stop the law’s
    implementation. Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Faviola Soto refused to grant the stay on
    October 18, 2004, and ordered both sides back to court on November 8, 2004.
    Bloomberg refused to enforce the law, but was ordered to do so after the Council sued in
    Supreme Court. The council argued that the mayor’s refusal to carry out the law had
    upset the separation of powers. An appeals court overturned that ruling, saying the city
    statute conflicted with competitive bidding requirements in state law and was invalid.
    In a 4-3 decision in early February 2006, the Court of Appeals upheld the appeals court,
    saying state and federal laws took precedence over the city law. Writing for the majority,
    Judge Robert Smith dismissed the City Council’s arguments over the separation of powers.
    While noting Bloomberg’s duty to carry out enacted city laws, Smith also noted that the
    mayor had the duty to follow existing state and federal statutes. In his dissent, Judge
    Albert Rosenblatt said that an official who believes that a law is unconstitutional has to
    let the courts decide and must follow the law while the issue is being argued. Rosenblatt
    said Bloomberg had acted without proper authority.
Northampton (Hampshire County), Massachusetts
    Noite: Measure approved by the City Council in May of 1995, was then repealed by voter
    referendum in November 1995.
Palm Beach County School District, Florida (2005)
    Benefits Denied: Medical.
    Note: On October 5, 2005, the School District approved a one-year pilot project to sell
    domestic partnership health insurance to a group including the District’s 750
    employees who were not represented by unions. This group included highly paid employees such
    as administrators and principals. However, while the School District subsidize family
    coverage for married employees, it refused to do the same for employees with domestic
    partners. The School District also refused to offer employees the opportunity to purchase
    health insurance coverage for the children of their domestic partners. In any event, not a
    single eligible employee elected to purchase the coverage.
Sedgwick County, Kansas (October 1, 2001)
    Benefits Denied: Medical; for same-and opposite-sex couples.
    Note: Was to be implemented October 1, 2001, however, on October 3, 2001, the County
    commissioners overturned County Manager William Buchanan’s decision to allow benefits.
    The public response has been outrage in the commissioners’ actions, including emphatic
    support from several clergy, requesting that the benefits be put back in place.
Springfield, Massachusetts
    Note: Benefits removed because legal marriage was now available in Massachusetts.
        [See: Massachusetts Offers Legal Marriage]
    Mayor Charles Ryan rescinded, on May 27 2004, all prior executive orders allowing unmarried
    domestic partners access to group health insurance. There is a 90-day grace period to become
    legally married and retain the insurance coverage. Previously, Pat Robertson’s
    Virginia-based American Center for Law and Justice had targeted Springfield in another of its
    mean-spirited attempts to destroy worker benefits.]

Additions and corrections are welcome. Please tell us:
• Company Name
• Employer’s Home City
• Specific Benefits (i.e., medical, dental, life, sick/bereavement leave)
• Same-sex Only, or Both Same-and Opposite-sex Couples
• Affidavit Required?
• Affidavit Restrictions (i.e., couple must cohabit X months before eligible)
• Effective Date
• Verifying Web or News Article

For a vast survey, please see our:
Legal Marriage Report: Global Status of Legal Marriage

Return to: Domestic Partnership Benefits

Governments that offer Full Legal Marriage

Netherlands (2001)
Belgium (2003)
Canada (2005)
Spain (2005)
South Africa (2005)
Norway (2009)
Sweden (2009)
Iceland (2010)
Argentina (2010)
Portugal (2010)
Denmark (2012)
France (2013)
New Zealand (2013)
Brazil (2013)
Uruguay (2013)
New Zealand (2013)
United Kingdom
(England, Wales, Scotland) (2013)
Luxembourg (2014)
Finland (2014)
Ireland (2015)
United States (2015)
Colombia (2016)
Germany (2017)
Taiwan (2017)
Malta (2017)
Australia (2017)
US States & Territories
U.S. Supreme Court, June 26, 2015 Ruling: All U.S. States must allow same-sex couples legal marriage.

Massachusetts (2004)
California (2008)
Connecticut (2008)
Iowa (2009)
Vermont (2009)
New Hampshire (2009)
District of Columbia (2009)
New York (2011)
Maine (2012)
Washington (2012)
Maryland (2013)
Rhode Island (2013)
Delaware (2013)
Minnesota (2013)
Illinois (2013)
Utah (2013)
New Jersey (2013)

Hawaii (2013)
New Mexico (2013)
Michigan (2014) - stayed pending legal challenge
Oregon (2014)
Wisconsin (2014) Arkansas (2014) - stayed pending legal challenge
Pennsylvania (2014)
Indiana (2014)
Nevada (2014)
Virginia (2014)
Oklahoma (2014)
Idaho (2014)
West Virginia (2014)
Alaska (2014)
Arizona (2014)
Wyoming (2014)
Kansas (2014) - stayed pending legal challenge
Florida (2014)
Colorado (2014)
North Carolina (2014)
South Carolina (2014)
Montana (2014)
Alabama (2015)
Native American Tribes

Coquille Tribe, Oregon (2009)
Mashantucket Pequot, Connecticut (2011)
Suquamish Tribe, Washington (2011)
Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation, Washington (2013)
Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe, Minnesota (2013)
Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians, Michigan (2013)
Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians, Michigan (2013)
Santa Ysabel Tribe, California (2013)
Confederated Tribes of the Colville Nation, Washington (2013)
Cheyenne, Oklahoma (2013)
Arapaho, Oklahoma (2013)
Leech Lake Tribal Court, Minnesota (2013)
Puyallup Tribe, Washington (2914)
Wind River Indian Reservation, Wyoming (2014)
Keweenaw Bay Indian Community, Michigan (2014)
Colville Confederated Tribes, Washington (2014)
Central Council of Tlingit, Alaska (2015)
Haida Indian Tribes, Alaska (2015)

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