Georgia has no laws that specifically address health insurance and domestic partnerships of any kind. However, Georgia has two laws explicitly stating that same-sex relationships are not recognized by the state government, while the city of Atlanta has a domestic partner registry and extends limited benefits to registered partners of any gender.
In 1996, the Georgia legislature passed a statute stating that only marriages between a man and a woman are valid in the state. The statute goes on to explicitly say that same-sex marriages are not recognized in the state of Georgia. The statute was in line with the federal Defense of Marriage Act of 1996, which states that no state government can be made to recognize same-sex unions performed in other states.
2004 Constitutional Amendment
In 2004, Georgia joined a growing number of states with marriage definitions in the state constitution. The constitutional amendment not only defines marriage as between a man and a woman, but goes on to deny recognition of any type of union other than marriage (as defined by the state), and to deny other relationships any of the benefits that marriage confers. Hence, not only does Georgia not recognize domestic partnerships of any kind, Georgia’s constitution denies to domestic partners any of the rights of marriage, including joint insurance policies and tax deductions.
Atlanta and Fulton County
The city of Atlanta and Fulton County have a domestic partner registry and extend limited benefits to registered domestic partners of any gender within the county. The benefits extended are very basic: inheritance and wills, general power of attorney, power of attorney for health care, separation of assets and child visitation rights. While Atlanta and Fulton County do not extend any health insurance rights to registered residents, both city and county governments provide health insurance benefits for the domestic partners of their employees, and the city government notes that many major corporations in the area have followed suit. However, there is no law requiring that benefits be offered, and domestic partners cannot deduct the cost of joint plans from their income for tax purposes.
Calla Hummel is a doctoral student studying contraband in international political economy. She supplements her student stipend by writing about personal finance and working as a consultant, as well as hoping that her investments will pan out.