Agenda Item 4C
April 19, 2016
Robert H. 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, is scheduled to be introduced on April 19, 2016. A
public hearing is tentatively scheduled for May 3,2016 at 1:30 p.m.
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 of Bill 28-99 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 with the County's
longstanding law and policies against discrimination based on sexual orientation.
28-99 was a civil rights law that was enacted outside of the collective bargaining process.
Bill 25-0 1, Personnel- Retirement Amendments, extended opposite sex domestic partner
benefits to members of the police bargaining unit on November 1, 2001. Finally, 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 were enacted at a
time when same-sex marriage was prohibited in Maryland. Maryland began to recognize same
sex marriage on January 1,2013.
County first prohlbited discrimination based on sexual orientation