GO Item 2
Government Operations and Fiscal Policy Committee
Drummer, Senior Legislative Attorney
Bill 16-16, Personnel - Benefits for Domestic Partner of Employee
Bill 16-16, Personnel- Benefits for Domestic Partner of Employee - Repeal, sponsored by
Lead Sponsor Councilmember Leventhal and Co-sponsor Councilmember Katz, was introduced
on April 19,2016. A public hearing was held on May 3.
Bill 16-16 would repeal the law requiring the County to provide domestic partner benefits
to eligible County employees.
Bill 28-99, Personnel- Benefits for Employee's Domestic Partner, enacted on November
30, 1999 and signed into law on December 3, 1999, extended health and insurance benefits to a
same-sex domestic partner of an employee. According to the legislative history, sponsors and
supporters ofBi1l28-99 argued that the law was needed to correct an inequity in benefits provided
to gay and lesbian County employees, compared to other employees. They argued that it is unfair
to provide benefits for an employee's spouse but not for the partner of an employee in a long-term,
committed, same-sex relationship. This benefits inequity conflicted
longstanding law and policies against discrimination based on sexual orientation.
Bill 28-99 was
a civil rights law that was enacted outside of the collective bargaining process.
Bill 25-01, Personnel- Retirement - Amendments, extended opposite sex domestic partner
benefits to members of the police bargaining unit on November 1,2001. Bill 30-10, Personnel
Equal Benefits - Fire and Rescue Employees, extended opposite sex domestic partner benefits to
members of the fire and rescue bargaining unit. Each of these laws was enacted at a time when
same-sex marriage was prohibited in Maryland. Maryland began to recognize same-sex marriage
on January 1, 20l3.
County first prohibited discrimination based on sexual orientation in 1984.