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Same-sex marriage and domestic partnerships in Maryland

In the wake of the United States Supreme Court decision to strike down the federal Defense of Marriage Act, same-sex couples across the country have wondered what this means for them. In Maryland, some same-sex couples will have access to benefits to which they were not previously entitled.

For example, individuals who are part of a same-sex marriage will be eligible for the State of Maryland Employee and Retiree Health and Welfare Benefit Program for eligible dependents. Domestic partners are eligible for health benefits if they are of the same gender of the employee, are 18 or older, not be married, in a civil union or in a domestic partnership with another person, share the same residence and have been in a relationship for at least one year in which each person contributes to some portion of the other person's maintenance and support. Same-sex individuals who are legally married to an employee are eligible for benefits as well. Same-sex marriages are recognized if they were established in a jurisdiction where this type of marriage is legal.

In order to add a spouse to an employee's coverage, the employee and his or her domestic partner has to provide an affidavit regarding their domestic partnership, documentation that shows they share a residence, documentation regarding financial interdependence and a Tax Affidavit if the employee wants the domestic partner to be considered a tax dependent. If the couple is married, a marriage certificate and an Affidavit for Spousal Eligibility and Tax Status must be submitted. Certain dependent children may also be eligible for health benefits.

Same-sex couples who are not certain of their legal rights and responsibilities may choose to consult with a family law attorney who works in this area of the law. By taking this step, individuals may be able to apply for more benefits that new laws have determined these individuals are entitled to receive.

Source: Maryland Department of Budget and Management, "Same sex domestic partner and same sex spouse FAQ's", August 19, 2014

Source: Maryland Department of Budget and Management, "Same sex domestic partner and same sex spouse FAQ's", August 19, 2014

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