Salt Lake City Domestic Partnerships - Case Profile
Dianna Goodliffe (right) with her partner Lisa
and their daughter on vacation last summer.
Salt Lake City Police Department employee Dianna Goodliffe has been in a committed and loving relationship with her partner Lisa for almost six years. The couple has a four-year-old daughter who suffers from diabetes, making health insurance a particularly important consideration. Like all parents, Goodliffe and her partner want to do what’s best for their family, which, in the future, may include Lisa working part-time or staying at home to care for their daughter. However, this option is accessible only if Goodliffe can enroll Lisa in the city benefits program.
In September of 2005, Salt Lake City Mayor Rocky Anderson issued an executive order that extends health and other employment benefits to Salt Lake City employees’ same-sex and unmarried heterosexual domestic partners. Shortly after that, the governing body of the agency that administers health insurance for state and local government employees filed a petition in state court asking for clarification about whether the benefits are legal. It did so after being contacted by a state legislator who contends that the benefits would be illegal under the terms of Utah’s constitutional amendment that bans marriage for same-sex couples.
The ACLU of Utah, the national ACLU, and the local branch of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) have filed a friend-of-the-court brief in the case on Goodliffe’s behalf, arguing that there is nothing in Utah’s statutory or constitutional law that prohibits Salt Lake City from offering domestic partner benefits, and that there are strong public policy arguments in favor of making such benefits available.
The full case name is In the Matter of the Utah State Retirement Board’s Trustee Duties and Salt Lake City Executive Order Dated September 21, 2005.
Status: brief filed.
Legal DocumentsFriend-of-the-court brief in support of Mayor Anderson's executive order to provide benefits