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Domestic Partnership Benefits:Dispelling the Myth

Domestic Partnership Benefits:Dispelling the Myth


Domestic Partnership BenefitsDispelling the Myth SAGE Publications, Inc.1995DOI: 10.1177/0734371X9501500104 Dennis Hostetler Joan E. Pynes Domestic partnership legislation is a relatively new and controversial phenomenon. It recognizes the stable, long term relationships of unmarried couples either straight or gay and extends to them some of the same workplace benefits received by married couples. These benefits include public recognition of their relationships, sickandbereavement leave, and access to the organi- zation's health insurance program. Couples qualify if they are living together, jointly responsible for their financial well being, and expecting to build a life together-conditions most observers would associate with being a "family." " This article provides personnel specialists with a framework for evaluating this new benefit issue. The first half of the article examines the economic, social, and political context that is shaping domestic partnership benefits. The second half evaluates the experi- ence of local governments that have implemented these benefits. This evaluation will provide personnel specialists with some perspective on the equity of conventional benefit packages. It will dispel some of the myths surrounding the consequences of implementing such a controversial change. THE ECONOMIC, SOCIAL, AND POLITICAL CONTEXT Three important trends have defined and shaped the environment of domestic
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