1405 - Same-Sex Spouses and Domestic Partners
Benefits and Insurance
- Chiefs of Administration
- Employee Relations Officers
- Personnel Officers
- Personnel Transactions Staff
- Personnel Transactions Supervisors
- provides information on the application of state-sponsored benefits for same-sex spouses and domestic partners.
Same-sex marriages are legally recognized in California consistent with the June 26, 2013 United States Supreme Court decisions. Pursuant to Family Code sections 297 to 299.6, registered domestic partners in California have the same rights, protections, and benefits as spouses.
State departments will accept marriage certificates from an employee with a same-sex spouse to determine state-sponsored benefit eligibility and enrollment without regard to gender. Marriage certificates from any jurisdiction (a California county, another state, or another country) can be accepted as proof of marriage.
To be eligible for state-sponsored benefits, a domestic partnership must be registered with the California Secretary of State. An eligible same-sex domestic partnership is between persons who are both at least 18 years of age. An eligible opposite sex domestic partnership is where one person is over the age of 62 and the other is at least 18 years old. A domestic partnership validly formed in another jurisdiction that is substantially equivalent to a registered domestic partnership in California may also be recognized.
The procedures that must be followed when enrolling into each state-sponsored benefit program and the required verification documents to substantiate the dependents as eligible beneficiaries are at the Benefits Administration Manual (BAM) page on the Department of California Human Resources (CalHR) website.
Imputed Tax Liability
When a state employee adds a domestic partner into a state-sponsored dental, vision, or health plan, the employee will have an imputed tax liability based on the amount of the increase in state contribution to benefits paid for the domestic partner, unless the domestic partner is claimed as a dependent for federal income tax purposes as authorized by the Internal Revenue Service.
In order to remove the imputed tax liability when enrolling a domestic partner into a state dental or health plan, CalHR requires the Domestic Partner Affidavit (Form CalHR 680) to be completed and signed by the state employee.
When an employee no longer declares the domestic partner as a dependent for tax purposes, the employee is required to notify his/her departmental human resources (HR) office in writing of this fact immediately. If the employee does not do so, he/she may be held liable for any taxes due based on when the dependency ended.
By signing the Domestic Partner Affidavit, the employee also agrees to permit the state, upon request from an authorized representative of CalHR or the State Controller' Office or their designee, full access to his/her tax records, domestic partnership filing documents, and/or any other supporting documentation as needed by the state to verify that the individual otherwise qualifies as a dependent for federal income tax purposes.
Currently, the federal government does not recognize a domestic partner as a dependent for tax purposes. As such, employees enrolled in a FlexElect Program Medical Reimbursement Account are unable to claim reimbursement for a domestic partner’s medical expenses, unless the domestic partner otherwise qualifies as a dependent under Internal Revenue Code section 152. In addition, the federal Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) does not protect leave taken to care for a domestic partner. However, the California Family Rights Act (CFRA) recognizes a domestic partner as a family member, and therefore can be utilized for such leave protection.
- 26 U.S. Code section 152
- Assembly Bill No. 205, chapter 421
- Bargaining Contracts - MOUs
- California Code of Regulations, title 2, article 11
- Family Code sections 297 to 299.6
- Family Medical Leave Act
- Registered Domestic Partners and Individuals in Civil Unions: Frequently Asked Questions
- CalHR 680: Domestic Partner Affidavit
- PML 2001-002: PML 2001-002 - 1/4/2001 - Affidavit for Domestic Partners Being Claimed as Economic
- PML 2005-002: PML 2005-002 - 1/20/2005 - Domestic Partner Benefits Impacted by AB 205, Chapter 421
- PML 2013-024: PML 2013-024 - 7/19/2013 - Same-Sex Spouses and Domestic Partnerships: Special Open Enrollment, Benefit Eligibility
- Benefits Administration Manual section 2203: Pre-Tax Parking Program
- California Secretary of State: California Secretary of State
Chief (Acting), Benefits Division