Domestic partners are two adults, of the same or opposite sex, who live together and sometimes have the same benefits received by legally married couples, such as tax benefits, hospital visitation and legal protection. The laws regarding domestic partner benefits vary from state to state. Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty vetoed a bill in 2008 for domestic partnership benefits across the entire state, but specific cities allow domestic partnership registration to their residents.
Minnesota doesn't offer statewide registration for domestic partner benefits. Some specific cities in Minnesota do, including Golden Valley in Hennepin County. Domestic partner registration is comparable to a marriage certificate, but with limited legal effects. It doesn't entitle the two parties to the same benefits received by a married couple, but can serve as relationship proof in securing benefits from private employers or businesses. There are several requirements to be eligible to register, including minimum age (18 years old for both partners), a minimum time period living together and the ability to fiscally support each other.
For cities that allow domestic partnership registration, many private employers offer the same benefits they offer a legally married couple, including insurance, pension benefits, and time off for a family member who is ill or for a death in the family.
The 2008 Minnesota domestic partnership bill would have provided several government benefits. These benefits include health care benefits for partners of those who work for the government, and public colleges and universities, and the ability to purchase and own real estate together, and legal visitation to partners who are either in the hospital or in prison.