Is it legal for employers to allow health insurance coverage for same sex domestic partners and not for heterogeneous couple?

When I signed up for health insurance I was told that only same sex domestic partners are covered. I called insurance company and they said they do not discriminate between sexes, so it must be coming from my employer. Is this legal and if not, do I have a chance against my employer in winning this case?

Asked on May 31, 2012 under Employment Labor Law, Illinois


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

It is legal for an employer to offer insurance to same-sex domestic partners but not to unmarried hetrosexual couples. This is not considered discrimination under the law, since the hetrosexual couple has a well-recognized and readily available option to be eligible for coverage and many other benefits: marriage. Homesexual couples still do not, in most states, have that option, so they are given the right to register as domestic partners in many jurisdications to give them some way to get at least some of the benefits of marriage. So if you and your partner are an unmarried hetrosexual couple, it is legal to not make insurance available to you.

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