Thurs. 3 p.m.: Cleveland abolishes family benefits for unmarried couples

CLEVELAND (AP) – Cleveland city employees with domestic partners are now expected to marry if they want to continue receiving benefits, officials said.

Cleveland City Council on Wednesday ended the program extending family benefits to employees’ domestic partners. The council also introduced legislation to terminate the city’s domestic partner registry.

Finance Director Sharon Dumas said the registry was designed to help same-sex couples receive benefits that married couples enjoyed. But since the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision last month legalized gay marriage across the country, those couples can now marry.

Unmarried couples can continue on the city’s health care and benefits plan until April 1.

Six city employees currently benefit from the policy extending benefits to domestic partners.

It’s not clear how the termination of the domestic partner registry will affect other businesses that might use it to offer benefits to the partners of unmarried employees. Council is expected to hold a hearing on the legislation at a later date.

City council created its domestic partner registry in 2008 to help same-sex couples obtain insurance. Those registering had to show they were sharing expenses using documents like mortgages or utility bills.