Domestic Partner Benefits

Essay by BWMP January 2006

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According to Webster's New Collegiate Dictionary, a family is "the basic unit in society having as its nucleus two or more adults living together and cooperating in the care and rearing of their own or adopted children." Despite this definition, a lesbian or gay couple or two heterosexuals living together with or without children is not the image conjured up when most people think of a family. Who gets to decide what it takes to make up a family? When two or more people love and take care and accept responsibility for each other and their children if they have them this would seem to be the definition of a family. Insisting that it takes a piece of paper to determine that two individuals are legally considered to be a family seems to be unfair and biased. Not to offer the same benefits based on whether a couple has a marriage license or not is unfair.

This paper will discuss the importance of offering domestic partner benefits.

The typical American family has changed. Domestic partnerships were unheard of twenty years ago this was something that was kept quiet and not accepted by society in general, whether it was a gay or lesbian couple or heterosexuals living together. In 1970, married couples with children comprised almost three-quarters of all U.S. households (Achieving Domestic). Today, about 50% of all households are married couples with children. Many families today are comprised of same-sex and opposite-sex couples that are not considered legally married. With this shift in family make-up, as well as the increasing emphasis on family and equality issues, employers need to include domestic partner benefits for their employees as part of their benefits package. While people will demand equal pay for equal work, when it comes to domestic partnership policies that should...