January 6, 2017 at 1:44 pm EST | by Staff reports
Indiana Univ. employees face marriage ultimatum
health care coverage, gay news, Washington Blade

Indiana University (Photo by SUZUKI Hironobu; courtesy Wikimedia Commons)

SOUTH BEND, Ind. — About 20 employees at Indiana University will lose health care coverage unless they marry their same-sex partners by month’s end, the Associated Press reports.

University employees in same-sex relationships have relied on a domestic partner health care policy offered since 2002, the South Bend Tribune reports.

Employees who applied for the benefit were required to sign an affidavit saying he or she would marry if the opportunity was available.

A university spokeswoman said the number of domestic partners enrolled in medical plans dropped from 250 at its highest point to 22 after marriage certificates were submitted following the 2015 Supreme Court decision on same-sex marraige. Shortly after the ruling, the university’s board of trustees discontinued domestic partner benefits. Those benefits will expire Dec. 31, the AP reports.

“The university has a nondiscrimination policy that includes marital status. It’s hard for me to understand how this isn’t blatant discrimination,” said Betsy Lucal, a university employee, according to the AP. “The right to marry should not be a requirement to marry.”

The university has never offered domestic partner health benefits to unmarried heterosexual employee couples. The university’s human resources department said it will continue to explore employee requests to expand health care coverage to all same-sex and opposite-sex domestic partners, the AP reports.

Meanwhile, the university told unmarried same-sex couples that their partner who is not covered may be eligible for COBRA, temporary coverage under the employer’s plan if their coverage otherwise would cease due to termination, layoff or other change in employment status, the AP reports.

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