House Ends Ban on D.C. Domestic Partners Law
By a 226-194 margin, the House yesterday voted to end a federal ban on the District of Columbia's domestic partners law, the Washington Post reports. The ban prompted "fierce debate" as the House considered the District of Columbia's fiscal year 2002 budget (Hsu, Washington Post, 9/26). Passed by Washington's City Council in 1992, the domestic partners law would allow District employees to purchase health insurance at "group rates for their unmarried partners." The law would apply to both same-sex and opposite-sex couples "who live together, including such pairings as a child and a grandparent, or two sisters." In addition, the law would require hospitals and health facilities to grant visiting rights to domestic partners. Winnie Stachelberger, political director of the Human Rights Campaign Fund, said, "The House vote upheld the value of family by removing unnecessary barriers and making it easier for families to acquire health insurance" (Clymer, New York Times, 9/26). The bill now heads to the Senate, where Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.), head of the Appropriations Committee on the District of Columbia, said it "would agree with the House, allowing the law to take effect" (New York Times, 9/26).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.