The Finch Formerly Known As Gold

17 October 2007

What is a "domestic partner"?

Where Erica works, this is the definition used for insurance purposes:

A Domestic Partner is defined as a person of the same or opposite sex who:
  • shares your permanent residence;
  • has resided with you for no less than one year;
  • is no less than 18 years of age;
  • is financially interdependent with you and has proven such interdependence by providing documentation of at least two of the following arrangements: common ownership of real property or a common leasehold interest in such property; common ownership of a motor vehicle; a joint bank account or a joint credit account; designation as a beneficiary for life insurance or retirement benefits or under yours or your partner's will; assignment of durable power of attorney; or such other proof as is considered by [the company] to be sufficient to establish financial interdependency under the circumstances of your particular case;
  • is not a blood relative any closer than would prohibit legal marriage;
  • has signed jointly with you, a notarized affidavit which has been made available to [the company].

These criteria seemed fairly sensible to me, but this is not by any means my area of expertise, so I'd welcome some comments from the field.

Posted at 11:05 AM to General Disinterest

I wonder if a married couple would have to jump through that many hoops, or would they just have to bring a marriage license to the company and get it rubber-stamped?

Fact is, my partner and I are only financially interdependent insomuch as a) he's the beneficiary on my life insurance policy. We need to get durable power of attorney but just haven't done it. I do think these are sensible criteria for domestic partnership, I suppose, but it just seems like an awful lot of work.

What irks me is that a straight couple could sidestep all of this by showing a marriage license.

Posted by: Nate at 12:02 PM on 17 October 2007

And it probably wouldn't be too hard to find actual married straight couples who don't meet all these qualifications.

Posted by: CGHill at 12:15 PM on 17 October 2007

This seems strict, but not so harsh as to make it difficult for most gay/lesbian couples to meet the demands. On the other hand, it requires conditions to be met that frequently are unmet by legally wed people, like where they choose to live or how they bank. I can understand the desire to ask that the folks in question are sincere, but such specific rules are paternalistic and intrusive. If they sign a document saying their relationship is real, and are later seen to have lied, there are other rules and legal actions for such dishonesty.

It would of course be easier for employer and employee alike if the couple could just produce that simple civil partnership-verifying license currently called "marriage."

Posted by: Rena at 12:26 PM on 17 October 2007

I actually started my response before the other two were posted, and didn't intentionally echo them. I'm just a really slow typist!

Posted by: Rena at 12:28 PM on 17 October 2007

You might add that they don't poop on the carpet.

oh, that says "domestic" partner, not "domesticated" partner.

never mind

Posted by: Dwayne "the canoe guy" at 12:50 PM on 17 October 2007

I was going to make the point that there are straight married couples who don't fit these criteria, but I forgot to. So thanks for making it for me.

Fact is, in my relationship the most comfortable and easiest thing right now is for our finances, credit, cars, etc. to be separate, not as a sign of lacking commitment but just out of convenience. The only other serious relationship I was in had a joint bank account and I ended up with $5000 in debt from it.

I get the need for things like this, so that people won't just willy-nilly sign up someone with whom they fall in "love" after a long weekend, but damn. Equal civil marriage rights would just solve all of this in a cinch. And of COURSE churches that didn't believe in it wouldn't have to honor it.

Incidentally, isn't it amazing that there isn't some kind of great, huge push for equality of marriage in Nevada? I know there are a lot of Mormons there, but there are also a WHOLE LOT of wedding chapel owners.

Posted by: Nate at 1:05 PM on 17 October 2007

I think most people who oppose same-sex "marriage" would have no problem with a civil-union law that would sidestep these "domestic-partner" criteria as smoothly as marriage does.

Posted by: McGehee at 3:07 PM on 17 October 2007

Knowing a lesbian couple who have been together for 13 years (very happily), I know what they go through. The Hartford supports partners by use of health insurance. (They also sponsor a float in the Gay Pride parade every year.) After leaving the employ of the Hartford, one friend did find health insurance that would cover her "wife." Medical decisions are the worst aspect as hospitals do not not recognize the partnership as legally binding for emergencies. I say healthy love is wonderful love no matter where you find it and I wouldn't want someone I didn't live with making emergency medical decisions in my stead. May I also note that I live alone?

Posted by: Aero at 6:26 PM on 17 October 2007

Well considering I am half of the lesbian couple that Aero above me mentioned, I would have to agree. Out of the whole entire list, we are only missing the power of attorney (which is getting done hopefully soon). You know what is even more sad about this WHOLE situation is the fact that Pamela Anderson is now on her 3rd marriage, Brittany Spears has a 65 hour marriage BUT I cannot even give it a try once? And most of you are right...there are alot of straight couples I know that don't meet these criteria but they will still get the insurance. I don't have to worry since my partner is able to get insurance for me. She made it a stipulation when she joined the want me, you have to insure my partner! GOD I LOVE HER!

And Aero is a GREAT friend to have! Thank you for being there and supporting us Aero!

Posted by: Michelle at 6:51 PM on 17 October 2007

This is freakin' ridiculous! Do you know what I had to show to put my wife on my insurance? Nothing! Just added her on.

Civil Unions are not the same. People that love each other and want to marry should be allowed. Period.

Posted by: Greg at 8:48 PM on 17 October 2007

Civil Unions are not the same.

Civil unions can be whatever legislators write them to be. It's up to you to make sure they do it right.

Posted by: McGehee at 9:15 PM on 17 October 2007

Frankly, I'm surprised that no one has sued for letting marriage (a religious construct) entitle married person to certain special rights (inheritance, familial treatment, implied power of attorney, etc.) Clearly, the government paying Survivor's Benefit based on marriage is affirming a Ibrahimic-religious construct and thus violating the Separation of Church and State.

Posted by: Dan B at 9:13 AM on 19 October 2007