News articles about
domestic partners

List of government
health plans

List of government

Statistics on employer
cost for dp benefits

List of private
sector plans

Link to in-depth article
on dp health benefits

Materials submitted to the
Vermont Legislature

Hawaii dp legislation:
1994 through 1999

Dp bills introduced in
various states in the

USA (2000)

Domestic partnership laws and proposals
in other nations

What's wrong with
excluding heterosexual

Domestic Partnership Information


The term "domestic partners" is a new name for a living arrangement which has been around for a long time, namely, two unmarried adults who are living together as a family unit.

The term "domestic partners" was first used in Northern California when the City of San Francisco was considering legislation to give benefits and protections to such couples in 1981. The phrase caught on and today it is a legal term of art which is used by some state governments, many local governments, and hundreds of private employers. Many courts are now referring to unmarried couples as "domestic partners" as well.

The Census Bureau reported in 1998 that 5.1 million of the nation's households were occupied by unmarried partners. About 70% of these relationships involved heterosexual couples, with the rest comprised of same-sex partners. Nearly 38% of the unmarried heterosexual couples were raising children.

Berkeley was the first government employer to provide benefits to city employees with domestic partners. The Village Voice in New York City was the first private employer. Since 1984 when these programs were initiated, more and more employers have decided to initiate domestic partner benefits plans. Today, more than 8,000 employers give benefits to domestic partners of their employees.

Effective January 1, 2000, California became the first state in the nation to begin operating a statewide registry for domestic partners. Those who registered became entitled to a few basic humanitarian protections, such as hospital visitation rights in times of medical emergency. In 2005, a comprehensive domestic partnership law took effect, giving registered partners most of the rights and obligations of married couples under California law.

Vermont become the first state in the nation to enact a "civil union" law, effective July 1, 2000.  Unfortunately, the law excludes the majority of cohabiting couples from eligibility. See: "'Civil Union' Bill Unfairly Excludes Heterosexual Seniors and Others."

The trend for domestic partnership law and benefits programs, both in the United States and internationally is to allow both same-sex couples and unmarried heterosexual couples to participate. See: "Who's In and Who's Not: Some Questions to Consider as Vermont Ponders Whether to Pass an Inclusive or Restrictive Domestic Partnership Law."

This section of our website it specifically devoted to domestic partnership issues. We hope the information is helpful to you.