DUNNING: 'This small firm has had domestic partner
benefits for years, from before I came to work here three years ago.
Wal-Mart spokesman Randy Hargrove told Arkansas Business last week that he doesn't know how many workers have enrolled their domestic partners
for health care benefits.
Under IRS regulations, domestic partners
do not qualify as tax dependents, so healthcare premium payments made by Deloitte on behalf of domestic partners
are treated as taxable income.
To add precision to the law, New York defines domestic partners
as those persons who are registered as such in a registry maintained by an employer, a state, a municipality, or a foreign jurisdiction.
In other words, the company will be paying homosexual employees who include domestic partners
on their health insurance plans more money to make up for the federal taxes they pay on that benefit.
The domestic partnership law grants rights under Oregon law only, and so domestic partners
next year will not change how they fill out their federal tax forms - in most cases still identifying themselves as single or head of household.
ERISA preemption and the DOMA also mean that domestic partners
will not be entitled to the same rights and benefits under private employer retirement plans as spouses of employees.
The University of Kentucky has also supported the idea of domestic partner
benefits and expects to decide on a course of action early next year.
OHIO'S MIAMI University offers domestic partners
of gay employees the same benefits--health and dental insurance, recreation center discounts, tuition waivers--that it extends to the spouses of married employees.
Twenty local jurisdictions agreed in 2004 to provide benefits for domestic partners
of public employees, a 12 percent increase over 2003.
rights: AB 205 will provide couples registered as domestic partners
most of the same rights under California state law that married couples have, such as community property rights, public benefit calculations and prisoner-visitation rights.
Until California reformed its program recently, either party could unilaterally mail in a form saying, "I, the undersigned, do declare that Former Partner--and I am no longer Domestic Partners
Domestic Partnerships (AB 25): Allows a person to collect unemployment insurance if he or she leaves a job to relocate with a domestic partner
; allows domestic partners
to use kin care (sick leave) to care for the other partner or the other partner's child.
cited city-paid benefits for domestic partners
of municipal employees, and pointed to a requirement that firms doing business with the city must provide such domestic-partner benefits if they provide benefits to spouses of married employees.
Washington Mutual began offering health insurance to same-sex domestic partners
in 1999 and includes sexual orientation and gender identity in its nondiscrimination policies.