Code of the District of Columbia

Chapter 7. Health Care Benefits Expansion.


§ 32–701. Definitions.

For the purposes of this chapter, the term:

(1) “Committed relationship” means a familial relationship between 2 individuals characterized by mutual caring and the sharing of a mutual residence.

(2) “District government employee” means any employee eligible for the District of Columbia Employees Health Benefits Program.

(3) “Domestic partner” means a person with whom an individual maintains a committed relationship as defined in paragraph (1) of this section and who has registered under § 32-702(a) or whose relationship is recognized under § 32-702(i). Each partner shall:

(A) Be at least 18 years old and competent to contract;

(B) Be the sole domestic partner of the other person; and

(C) Not be married.

(4) “Domestic partnership” means the relationship between 2 persons who become domestic partners by registering in accordance with § 32-702 or whose relationship is recognized under § 32-702(i).

(5) “Employee” means any individual employed by an employer.

(6) “Employer” means any individual, firm, partnership, mutual company, joint stock company, association, corporation, unincorporated organization, incorporated society, labor union, receiver, trustee, agent or representative of any of the foregoing, and the District of Columbia government which, for compensation, employs an individual.

(7) “Family member” means:

(A) A domestic partner; or

(B) A dependent child of a domestic partner, which shall include, for the purposes of this section, an unmarried person under 22 years of age, an unmarried person under 25 years of age who is a full-time student, or an unmarried person regardless of age who is incapable of self-support because of a mental or physical disability that existed before age 22. A dependent child of a domestic partner shall include a natural child, adopted child, stepchild, foster child, or child in the legal custody of a domestic partner.


(June 11, 1992, D.C. Law 9-114, § 2, 39 DCR 2861; Apr. 9, 2016, D.C. Law 21-105, § 3(a), 63 DCR 217.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 36-1401.

Section References

This section is referenced in § 1-603.01, § 1-612.31, § 1-702, § 1-901.02, § 1-1161.01, § 2-1401.02, § 3-202, § 3-413, § 3-602, § 3-1201.01, § 3-1320, § 3-1328, § 4-1301.02, § 4-1345.01, § 5-113.31, § 5-131.03, § 6-201, § 7-201, § 7-621, § 7-1231.02, § 7-1531.01, § 7-1601, § 14-306, § 14-309, § 15-502, § 15-503, § 16-308, § 16-571, § 16-901, § 16-907, § 16-909, § 16-1001, § 16-1908, § 16-2301, § 16-2701, § 19-115, § 19-322, § 19-602.01, § 19-701, § 19-904, § 19-1101, § 20-303, § 21-501, § 21-2011, § 21-2113, § 21-2202, § 22-501, § 22-1403, § 22-2701.01, § 22-3001, § 23-541, § 26-801, § 26-802, § 28-4801.02, § 31-3301.01, § 31-4202, § 32-131.01, § 32-408, § 32-704, § 32-705, § 32-706, § 32-1201, § 32-1501, § 38-2021.09, § 38-2021.13, § 42-516, § 42-1102, § 42-1301, § 42-1901.02, § 42-3404.02, § 42-3651.05, § 44-1002.05, § 46-501, § 46-601, § 47-802, § 47-902, § 47-1803.02, § 47-3701, § 47-4304, § 50-1501.02, § 50-2201.03, and § 51-110.

Editor's Notes

Feasibility Study for Federal Employees Health Benefits Program: See § 8 of the Health Care Benefits Expansion Act of 1992 (D.C. Law 9-114).

Mayor authorized to issue rules: Section 10 of D.C. Law 9-114 provided that the Mayor shall, pursuant to subchapter I of Chapter 15 of Title 1 subchapter I of Chapter 5 of Title 2, 2001 Ed., issue rules to implement the provisions of the act.

Delegation of Authority

Delegation of authority under D.C. Act 9-114, the Health Care Benefits Expansion Act of 1992, see Mayor’s Order 92-102, September 14, 1992.

Delegation of Authority Under D.C. Law 9-114, the Health Care Benefits Expansion Act of 1992, see Mayor’s Order 2002-56, March 29, 2002 ( 49 DCR 2945).


§ 32–702. Domestic partnership registration and termination procedures.

(a) To establish the existence of a domestic partnership and to qualify for benefits under §§ 32-704, 32-705, and 32-706, persons shall register as domestic partners by executing a declaration of domestic partnership to be filed with the Mayor. For the purposes of this section, the declaration shall be signed by the domestic partners and shall affirm under penalty of perjury that each domestic partner:

(1) Is at least 18 years old and competent to contract;

(2) Is the sole domestic partner of the other person;

(3) Is not married; and

(4) Is in a committed relationship with the other person.

(b) Before accepting a declaration of domestic partnership, the Mayor may examine any applicant under oath to ascertain the names and ages of the persons desiring to register as domestic partners and any other information as required by subsection (a) of this section.

(c) All information contained in a declaration of domestic partnership, except the address of the partners, shall be open to inspection as a public record.

(d) A domestic partnership may be terminated only by the following methods:

(1) Either domestic partner may terminate the domestic partnership by filing a termination statement with the Mayor. The person filing the termination statement shall declare that:

(A) The domestic partnership is to be terminated; and

(B) A copy of the termination statement has been served on the other domestic partner if the termination statement is not signed by both domestic partners.

(2) A domestic partner may terminate a domestic partnership because the other domestic partner has abandoned the domestic partnership by filing a termination statement with the Mayor. The person filing the termination statement shall declare that:

(A) The domestic partnership is to be terminated;

(B) The other domestic partner permanently departed the mutual residence at least 6 months before the filing of the termination statement, or has not been in contact with the domestic partner filing the termination statement for at least 6 months preceding the filing of the termination statement; and

(C) If the location of the other domestic partner is known, a copy of the termination statement has been served on the other domestic partner.

(3) A domestic partnership shall terminate by operation of law if the domestic partners marry each other or another person.

(4) A domestic partnership shall terminate upon the death of either domestic partner.

(5)(A) A domestic partnership may be terminated by judicial decree or judgment pursuant to § 16-904(e).

(B) Domestic partners who terminate their domestic partnership under this paragraph shall subsequently inform the Mayor of the termination and provide any required documentation.

(d-1) Any form provided by the Mayor for domestic partnership terminations shall indicate that the Mayor is not responsible for resolving any attendant legal issues arising from the termination of a domestic partnership under Chapter 9 of Title 16.

(e)(1) A termination pursuant to subsection (d)(1) of this section shall take effect 6 months after the termination statement is filed, during which period benefits will continue to accrue.

(2) A termination pursuant to subsection (d)(2) of this section shall take effect immediately upon the filing of the statement.

(3) A termination pursuant to subsection (d)(3) of this section shall take effect immediately upon the date of the certification of marriage.

(4) A termination pursuant to subsection (d)(4) of this section shall take effect immediately upon the death of the domestic partner.

(4A) A termination pursuant to subsection (d)(5) of this section shall take effect as provided in § 16-920.

(5) No provision of this subsection shall be interpreted to terminate any rights or benefits otherwise afforded under the law to a surviving domestic partner.

(f) A District government employee who is separated from service, or an employee’s dependent child who ceases to be a dependent, may be eligible for extended health benefits coverage in accordance with § 1-621.14.

(g) In accordance with the rules issued pursuant to § 32-708, the Mayor may charge a fee for filing a declaration of domestic partnership, a domestic partnership termination statement, and for filing any amendments to the declaration or termination statement.

(h) District residents who are not District government employees may register as domestic partners by executing a declaration of domestic partnership to be filed with the Mayor in accordance with subsections (a) through (g) of this section.

(i)(1) Except as provided in paragraph (2) of this subsection, relationships established in accordance with the laws of other jurisdictions, other than marriages, that are substantially similar to domestic partnerships established by this chapter, as certified by the Mayor, shall be recognized as domestic partnerships in the District. The Mayor shall establish and maintain a certified list of jurisdictions so recognized. The Mayor shall broadly construe the term “substantially similar” to maximize the recognition of relationships from other jurisdictions as domestic partnerships in the District.

(2) If the Mayor has not yet certified, pursuant to paragraph (1) of this subsection, that the laws of a jurisdiction permit the establishment of relationships substantially similar to domestic partnerships established by this chapter, and if the laws of that jurisdiction prescribe that the relationship, regardless of the term or phrase used to refer to the relationship, has all the rights and responsibilities of marriage under the laws of that jurisdiction, the relationship shall be recognized as a domestic partnership in the District and the Mayor shall include that jurisdiction in the certified list required under paragraph (1) of this subsection.

(j)(1) Two persons in a valid domestic partnership pursuant to this chapter may apply for and receive a marriage license in accordance with Chapter 4 of Title 46 [§ 46-401] passim.

passim.

(2) Two persons who are in a domestic partnership and have registered their domestic partnership pursuant to this section shall not be charged a marriage license fee.


(June 11, 1992, D.C. Law 9-114, § 3, 39 DCR 2861; Mar. 24, 1998, D.C. Law 12-81, § 50, 45 DCR 745; Sept. 12, 2008, D.C. Law 17-231, § 30, 55 DCR 6758; July 18, 2008, D.C. Law 18-33, § 4, 56 DCR 4269; Dec. 10, 2009, D.C. Law 18-88, § 405, 56 DCR 7413; Mar. 3, 2010, D.C. Law 18-110, § 3, 57 DCR 27; Apr. 9, 2016, D.C. Law 21-105, § 3(b), 63 DCR 217.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 36-1402.

Section References

This section is referenced in § 1-301.45, § 7-1231.13, § 16-909, § 16-910, § 16-911, § 16-913, § 16-916, § 21-2202, § 21-2208, § 22-501, § 32-701, § 38-2021.05, § 38-2021.09, § 46-503, § 46-504, § 46-505, § 46-506, § 47-1801.04, § 47-1812.08, § 47-4509, and § 50-2201.03.

Effect of Amendments

D.C. Law 17-231 rewrote subsecs. (d) and (e); in subsec. (h), substituted “District residents who are not government employees” for “Private sector employees”; and added subsec. (i).

D.C. Law 18-33 rewrote subsec. (i), which read as follows: “(i) Relationships established in accordance with the laws of other jurisdictions that are substantially similar to domestic partnerships established by this chapter, as certified by the Mayor, shall be recognized as domestic partnerships in the District.”

D.C. Law 18-88, in subsec. (h), substituted “District government” for “government”.

D.C. Law 18-110 rewrote subsec. (d)(3); in subsec. (e)(3), substituted “certification of marriage” for “marriage”; and added subsec. (j). Prior to amendment, subsec. (d)(3) read as follows: “(3) A domestic partnership shall terminate if the domestic partners marry each other. Notice that the domestic partnership has been terminated in this manner shall be provided to the Mayor within 30 days of the marriage.”

Emergency Legislation

For temporary (90 day) amendment of section, see § 405 of Omnibus Public Safety and Justice Emergency Amendment Act of 2009 (D.C. Act 18-181, August 6, 2009, 56 DCR 6903).

For temporary (90 day) amendment of section, see § 405 of Omnibus Public Safety and Justice Congressional Review Emergency Amendment Act of 2009 (D.C. Act 18-227, October 21, 2009, 56 DCR 8668).


§ 32–703. Enforcement by civil action.

Any person or employer may bring a civil action in any court of competent jurisdiction against the appropriate domestic partner(s) to recover damages as a result of:

(1) A false statement in a declaration of domestic partnership or a false assertion of family membership; or

(2) A failure to notify the Mayor or the employer of a change in the status of the domestic partnership or family membership.


(June 11, 1992, D.C. Law 9-114, § 4, 39 DCR 2861.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 36-1403.


§ 32–704. Domestic partnership benefits.

All health care facilities, including hospitals, convalescent facilities, or other long term care facilities, shall allow a patient’s family member as defined in § 32-701(7) to visit the patient.


(June 11, 1992, D.C. Law 9-114, § 5, 39 DCR 2861.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 36-1404.

Section References

This section is referenced in § 32-702.


§ 32–705. District government employees — Domestic partnership and family member benefits.

(a) A District government employee shall be granted sick leave when needed to care for a family member as defined in § 32-701(7), subject to the same guidelines and restrictions in § 32-502.

(b) A District government employee shall be granted sick leave to care for a minor child of either domestic partner or to care for the employee’s domestic partner who is on maternity or paternity leave, subject to the same guidelines and restrictions in § 32-502.

(c) A District government employee shall be granted funeral leave or annual leave when needed to make arrangements for or attend a funeral or memorial service for a family member as defined in § 32-701(7), subject to the same guidelines and restrictions in § 1-612.03(n).

(d) A District government employee who is adopting or whose domestic partner is adopting a child shall be granted annual leave or leave without pay to make necessary family arrangements, subject to the same guidelines and restrictions in § 32-502.


(June 11, 1992, D.C. Law 9-114, § 6, 39 DCR 2861.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 36-1405.

Section References

This section is referenced in § 32-702.


§ 32–706. Optional self-financed coverage: District of Columbia Employees Health Benefits Program.

District government employees enrolled in the District of Columbia Employees Health Benefits Program shall be allowed to purchase family health insurance coverage that would cover the employee’s family members as defined in § 32-701(7) in accordance with §§ 1-621.05, 1-621.06, and 1-621.07(a), (c), and (d). A domestic partner shall not simultaneously be enrolled for individual and family member coverage. The employee shall pay 25% of the cost of family health insurance coverage for the domestic partner or family members as defined in § 32-701(7), and the District government shall pay the remaining 75%.


(June 11, 1992, D.C. Law 9-114, § 7, 39 DCR 2861; April 4, 2006, D.C. Law 16-82, 53 DCR 1057.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 36-1406.

Section References

This section is referenced in § 32-702.

Effect of Amendments

D.C. Law 16-82 rewrote the section which had read as follows: “District government employees enrolled in the District of Columbia Employees Health Benefits Program shall be allowed to purchase family health insurance coverage that would cover the employee’s family members as defined in § 32-701(7) in accordance with §§ 1-621.05, 1-621.06, and 1-621.07(a), (c), and (d). A domestic partner shall not simultaneously be enrolled for individual and family member coverage. The employee shall assume the total additional cost of the family health insurance coverage for the domestic partner or family members as defined in § 32-701(7).”

Editor's Notes

Section 7066 of D.C. Law 17-219 repealed section 3 of D.C. Law 16-82.


§ 32–707. [Omitted.]

Omitted.



§ 32–708. Recordkeeping requirements.

(a) The Mayor shall maintain adequate records of declarations of domestic partnership, termination statements, and amendments to declarations of domestic partnership and termination statements.

(b) The Mayor shall report annually to the Council on the number of domestic partnerships declared and terminated, including those terminated under § 32-702 (d)(5).


(June 11, 1992, D.C. Law 9-114, § 9, 39 DCR 2861; Apr. 9, 2016, D.C. Law 21-105, § 3(c), 63 DCR 217.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 36-1407.

Section References

This section is referenced in § 32-702.


§ 32–709. Rulemaking.

(a) The Mayor shall, pursuant to subchapter I of Chapter 5 of Title 2, issue rules to implement the provisions of this chapter.

(b) The proposed rules shall be submitted to the Council for a 45-day period of review, excluding Saturdays, Sundays, legal holidays and days of Council recess. If the Council does not approve or disapprove the proposed rules, in whole or in part, by resolution within this 45-day period, the proposed rules shall be deemed approved. Nothing in this section shall affect any requirements imposed upon the Mayor by subchapter I of Chapter 5 of Title 2.


(June 11, 1992, D.C. Law 9-114, § 10, 39 DCR 2861.)

Resolutions

Resolution 14-459, the “Domestic Partnership Registration Procedures and Fees Approval Resolution of 2002”, was approved effective June 14, 2002.

Resolution 16-920, the “Domestic Partnership Health Care Benefits Expansion Amendment Rulemaking Approval Resolution of 2006”, was approved effective November 25, 2006.

Resolution 18-404, the “Domestic Partnership Certified List of Jurisdictions Approval Resolution of 2010”, was approved effective March 2, 2010.


§ 32–710. Effect on existing rights and benefits.

(a) Nothing in this chapter shall supersede any provision of law that provides more generous rights or benefits than the domestic partnership or family membership rights and benefits provided pursuant to this chapter.

(b) Nothing in this chapter shall be construed to discourage an employer from providing more generous rights or benefits than the domestic partnership or family membership rights or benefits provided pursuant to this chapter.

(c) Nothing in this chapter shall diminish an employer’s obligation to comply with a collective bargaining agreement or an employment benefits program or plan that provides more generous rights or benefits than the domestic partnership or family membership rights or benefits provided pursuant to this chapter.

(d) The domestic partnership or family membership rights or benefits provided pursuant to this chapter shall not be diminished by a collective bargaining agreement or an employment benefit program or plan, except that this chapter shall not supersede any clause on domestic partnership or family membership rights or benefits in a collective bargaining agreement in force on June 11, 1992, excluding any extension or renewal after such date, that the collective bargaining agreement is in effect.

(e) No provision of this chapter shall exempt or relieve, or be construed to exempt or relieve, any person from any duty, liability, penalty, or obligation to provide relief under Chapter 14 of Title 2.

(f) This chapter provides registration and other mechanisms to reduce discrimination prohibited under Chapter 14 of Title 2.


(June 11, 1992, D.C. Law 9-114, § 12, 39 DCR 2861.)

Prior Codifications

1981 Ed., § 36-1408.

Emergency Legislation

For temporary (90 day) amendment of section, see § 2 of Impacted Resident Economic Assistance Emergency Act of 2001 (D.C. Act 14-165, November 6, 2001, 48 DCR 10413).

Temporary Legislation

For temporary (225 day) additions, see §§ 2 to 6 of Impacted Resident Economic Assistance Temporary Act of 2001 (D.C. Law 14-72, February 27, 2002, law notification 49 DCR 2282).