Spouses, Same-Sex Partners and Opposite-Sex Partners who are not married

By By [email protected]

By [email protected]

After reading the article “Spouse Card open to all” from the September 16 edition of the Chrony I am left with one glaring question. Exactly what is a “Partner” and how do you verify whether someone is one? Before I go any farther, I’m just looking for a few answers, not trying to pick a fight over what may be a touchy subject for some.

It seems to be a trend that various institutions that in the past have extended benefits to the spouses of students and employees are now extending them to same-sex partners. I only heard about the inclusion of opposite-sex partners who are not married from the article. I understand that the idea here is that just because two people are not allowed to marry under the law they should not be denied the benefits that marriage would carry.

In the instructions included with the article on how to apply for a spouce card you must bring picture ID and “proof of partnership.” That’s the part I don’t understand (I could go down to the UCard office and ask, but I’m looking for a more broad based definition).

There is obviously no gender requirement to qualify for a “partnership.” What about age? I seem to remember that minimum age for marriage in the state of Utah was 14 (with parental consent). Is a partnership similar? Or must both parties be of legal age? Do the “partners” have to be living together? For how long? It’s possible for two people to be married and yet have never seen each other. Does there have to be a physical element to the relationship or can the people just be really committed good friends? Do they even have to be friends? Could two roommates decide that they are partners to get access to each others insurance and go to events and stuff? Can one have more than one partner at a time? Could a whole fraternity or sorority house decide that they are all partners and all get access to one members insurance? Or what if one just changed “partners” frequently? Are your partners children covered as if they were your children?

Okay, it was getting a little silly there at the end but I just wanted to see where this could go. Ultimately I just want to know can someone just decide that they are really committed to every human being and have everyone who wanted to have access to their health insurance just had to sign a piece of paper. Once again, I am not trying to trivialize the depth of a relationship that can exist between two people who don’t happen to be married, I just see a lot of room for abuse of a new system.

Hyrum AndersonSenior (yeah, so I don’t care what people think of me anymore)Materials Science and Engineering