Chapter 14:
Domestic Partner Benefits
By Curtis F. Shepard, Ph.D.
couples are routinely denied access to
campus family housing, for instance,
There is an increasing awareness in this
because their relationships do not have
country that the definition of "family"
the standing in law that marriage
must expand to include a diversity of
bestows.  Likewise, non traditional fami 
relationships.  Many cities and counties,
lies are not included in the policies that
along with a growing number of private
provide for bereavement, sick and
sector employers, are responding to this
parental leave and access to health ser 
diversity through enactment of domestic
vices and insurance, even though their
partnership legislation, policies and
needs are the same as those of "tradition 
recognition in employee benefits pack 
al" families.  
These forms of discriminatory treatment
Where colleges and universities were
result in differential compensation for
once the vanguard force in movements
employment and unequal access to uni 
for equality and social change, we now
versity facilities that often violates the
witness many of those institutions slowly
spirit of the institution's EEO policy.
following the lead of their local jurisdic 
tions and corporate America in changing
policies that discriminate against non tra 
ditional families.
The term "domestic partner" (DP) has in
recent years become a regular feature of
While a growing number of campuses
the vocabulary of lgbt people.  But what
across the country (approximately 200 as
does the term really mean?  
of Spring 1995) include sexual orienta 
tion and marital status in their anti dis 
First, it is a governmentally sanctioned
crimination or equal opportunity state 
institution that people can "join."  For
ments, most have not come to grips with
instance, in West Hollywood, San Fran 
the institutionalized discrimination per 
cisco, and New York, once a lesbian or
petuated by the policies that govern
gay couple have met some criteria that
everyday campus life.  Lesbian and gay
establishes the long term legitimacy of
This chapter, which focuses on organizing for 
benefits for domestic partners, is a
compilation of information from Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund (Special
thanks to Amelia Craig, former Managing Attorney, LLDEF Western Regional Office),
Hollywood Supports, the University of Minnesota, Stanford University and the Univer 
sity of California.
D P   H e a l t h   B e n e f i t s
M     2 6 9


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