Indiana University’s domestic partner benefits policy, which gives benefits to same sex partners, but not to unmarried heterosexual couples, is causing some employees to feel left out.
The IU domestic partner benefits policy was created in 2001 in an effort to support the school’s diverse community. However, geologist Sally Letsinger says her partner is still left unprotected.
“I’ve been with the same partner, John, for 23 and a half years,” she says. “So this is my family and I would like to provide for my family.”
Letsinger has been writing to IU administrators since 2001 asking for a change in policy that includes opposite-sex domestic partners. This year she submitted a domestic partnership affidavit, the form required for same-sex couples to receive benefits coverage. Her application was rejected.
“Same sex partners are covered, married couples are covered, single people are covered,” Letsinger says. “So the only group that’s not protected or can provide for their own families are opposite sex partners.”
University spokesman Mark Land says the policy currently covers about 160 same-sex partners of IU employees. He says he is uncertain about the potential for the policy to expand to opposite-sex partners.
“We’ve made the decision for now, that our policy does allow us to serve a group that demonstrated need out there,” he says. “But beyond that I don’t think there’s been a lot of discussion about what comes next.”
Letsinger is still waiting to hear back about her most recent appeal.