MD Defines 'Domestic Partners'

January 11, 2008 (PLANSPONSOR.COM) - Maryland state lawmakers are still debating the overall same-sex marriage issue, but the state now has at least formally defined domestic partners.

An Associated Press news report said legislators approved by a 12-to-4 vote, a definition that domestic partners were generally people over 18 “in a committed relationship of mutual interdependence” for at least six months.

The panel of lawmakers signed off Thursday on the domestic partner definition as part of a 2007 law requiring health insurers to offer domestic partner benefits. The Maryland Insurance Administration was required to define domestic partners in that law, according to the AP.

“The bigger (gay marriage) issue is still out there and I think will remain out there,” said Delegate Anne Healey, in the news report. “There’s not enough support to change the status quo one way or the other.”

Four Republicans on the committee insisted that domestic partnerships should be defined by insurers, not the state, and voted against the plan. They were joined by two opponents who testified against approval of the definition.