Borough Council Grants Benefits to Same-Sex Partners in Princeton
Borough Council unanimously passed a resolution that will give health and pension benefits to same-sex partners. Princeton Borough is one of the first New Jersey municipalities to pass the resolution since the act was signed by Governor James McGreevey in January.
Council did not make comments on the bill before passing it at the June 22 meeting, except for Councilman David Goldfarb, who asked that the Borough's manual and personnel policies be changed to reflect the passing of the resolution.
Each Borough employee who applies for health benefits for their same sex partner will cost the municipality between $3,000 to $4,000 annually, said Borough Administrator Robert Bruschi. However without knowing how many individuals will apply for the benefits, he was unable to say what the total cost will be.
The Domestic Partnership Act grants same-sex individuals in "enduring, committed relationships" certain health care and retirement benefits that are currently only given to married couples. Under state law, state employees will receive these benefits starting July 10. However, each municipality must also pass the act before granting these services to municipal employees.
Individuals meeting the financial and cohabitation standards of the law will be able to make critical health care decisions for their partners, file for a state income tax deduction for dependents, and file for state inheritance tax deduction.
The act also requires that commercial and dental insurers extend eligibility for filing health insurance contracts to both partners. These rights will also be extended to opposite-sex unmarried couples above the age of 62.
New Jersey is one of only five states to adopt domestic partnership rights for same sex couples. Other states include Massachusetts, Vermont, California, and Hawaii.