As of July 1, 2006, state employees' domestic partners will be entitled
to the same health benefits enjoyed by married spouses, thanks to an administrative
order which Governor Rod Blagojevich filed in mid-May. Justin DeJong, a spokesman
for the Illinois Department of Central Management Services (CMS), explained
that the governor's order covers about 20,000 nonunion, management-level
employees working in the 36 regulatory agencies under his direct control.
Some 37,000 nonmanagement, union employees in these agencies,
who are represented by the American Federation of State, County and Municipal
Employees (AFSCME), are entitled to domestic partner benefits via a union contract
executed in 2004 which takes effect on July 1, 2006, DeJong explained.
At the same time, CMS Director Paul Campbell has asked the heads of remaining
state offices whether they also wish to cover their employees' domestic
partners. Those remaining offices include the Attorney General, Treasurer, Secretary
of State, Lieutenant Governor, and Comptroller, which together employ about
565 employees statewide.
The definition of domestic partner (as taken from the AFSCME contract) is a
person of the same sex who has resided in the employee's household and
has had a financial and emotional interdependence with the employee, consistent
with that of a married couple, for at least a year, and continues to maintain
such arrangement consistent with that of a married couple.