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September 15, 2005
Domestic Partner Benefit Bills Under Consideration

Senators Gordon Smith (R-OR) and Charles Schumer (D-NY) recently reintroduced the bipartisan Domestic Partner Health Benefits Equity Act, which would eliminate taxes on the health benefits that U.S. businesses offer to their employees' domestic partners, according to The Human Rights Campaign (HRC). The bill was referred to the Senate's Finance Committee.

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Under the current tax code, domestic partner benefits are treated as income, creating an additional tax burden on both the employees using the benefits and on the businesses providing them, HRC reported. "The strongest businesses in the country offer domestic partner benefits because fair and equitable workplaces are good for the bottom line. Making those benefits unaffordable through additional taxes is bad for business, and it's not fair to employees," said HRC President Joe Solmonese.

In the House, Representative Barney Frank (D-MA) introduced the Domestic Partnership Benefits and Obligations Act, which would grant federal employees who are in a committed, same- or opposite-sex couple access to employee benefits such as health insurance and retirement programs. This bill was referred to the Committees on Government Reform and Ways and Means.

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