TOPEKA, Kan. — Topeka’s new domestic partner registry was viewed as a significant victory for the city’s LGBT community when it was approved by the city council last week, but most employers say there will be little to no effect on workplace benefits.
The Capital Journal reports thats while the domestic partner registry will allow same- and opposite-sex couples to verify their relationship, employers still have to approve covering this new subset of dependents.
Already, some employers in town — Stormont-Vail HealthCare, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas — say that isn’t likely to happen anytime soon.
For small businesses, state law dictates eligibility for dependent coverage, and in Kansas, coverage only applies to married spouses.
Large businesses, those with 50 employees or more, will have to determine for themselves whether they wish to extend benefits to domestic partners.
A second ordinance approved by the council would ban the city from discriminating in employment and hiring based on gender identity. That measure does, however, require the city to try to provide health coverage for any city employees registered as being part of a domestic partnership.