Agenda Item 6
May 3, 2016
April 29, 2016
Robert H. Drummer, Senior Legislative Attorney
Bill 17-16, Contracts and Procurement - Equal Benefits for
Domestic Partner - Repeal
Bill 17-16, Contracts and Procurement - Equal Benefits for Domestic Partner - Repeal,
sponsored by Lead Sponsor Councilmember Leventhal, was introduced on April 19, 2016. A
Government Operations and Fiscal Policy Committee worksession is tentatively scheduled for
May 4,2016 at 2 p.m.
Bill 17-16 would repeal the equal benefits law requiring a County contractor to provide
same-sex domestic partner benefits to its employees. Bill 37-09, Contracts and Procurement
Equal Benefits, was enacted on February 2,2010 and signed into law on February 16,2010. Code
A contractor or subcontractor must provide the same benefits to an employee with
a domestic partner as prOVided to an employee with a spouse.
a benefit cannot
reasonably be providedto a domestic partner, the contractor or subcontractor must
pay the employee the cash equivalent.
The legalization of same-sex marriage in Maryland created a new inequity for employers
who provided domestic partner benefits to same-sex couples only. Governor O'Malley resolved
this inequity by eliminating all domestic partner benefits for State employees soon after the State
legalized same-sex marriages. Although Maryland began recognizing same-sex marriages in
2013, many States did not.
year, the U.S. Supreme Court held that the right to marry is a
fundamental right that must be provided to same-sex couples in
2584 (2015). Speaking for the Court, Justice Kennedy said:
These considerations lead to the conclusion that the right to marry is a fundamental
right inherent in the liberty of the person, and under the Due Process and Equal
Protection Clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment couples ofthe same-sex may not