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In some legal jurisdictions, domestic partners who live together for an extended period of time but are not legally entitled to common-law marriage may be entitled to legal protection in the form of a domestic partnership.
At the first meeting of the new City Council in December 1984, the Berkeley City Council enacted a policy extending employee benefits to unmarried couples of any gender.
The first couple to file for benefits under Berkeley's sex-neutral policy were Brougham and his partner Barry Warren.
Some jurisdictions, such as Australia, New Zealand, and the American states of Oregon, Washington (only available if one of the parties is 62 or older), Nevada, Wisconsin, Maine, and California, use the term "domestic partnership" to mean what other jurisdictions call civil union, civil partnership, or registered partnership.
Other jurisdictions use the term as it was originally coined, to mean an interpersonal status created by local municipal and county governments, which provides an extremely limited range of rights and responsibilities.
Initially, the requirements were that only two people who resided together and were qualified to marry except that they were the same gender.
Additional requirements were later added for the partners to maintain mutual financial responsibility and for both to be at least eighteen years old and able to enter into a legal contract.
A domestic partnership is an interpersonal relationship between two individuals who live together and share a common domestic life but are not married (to each other or to anyone else).
The term is not used consistently, which results in some inter-jurisdictional confusion.
According to the San Francisco Human Rights Commission, "In 1982, the term 'domestic partner' was first used in a lawsuit filed by San Francisco Human Rights Commission employee Larry Brinkin. Brinkin, then an employee of Southern Pacific Railway, had recently suffered the loss of his partner of eleven years. Despite a great deal of evidence to the contrary, the judge agreed with his employer's claim that there was no way to know if his relationship was legitimate." In 1983, the City Council of Berkeley, California, under the leadership of Mayor Gus Newport, ordered their Human Relations and Welfare Commission to develop a domestic partnership proposal.
When he was denied the three days of paid bereavement leave given to married employees, he filed suit with the assistance of the ACLU. The Commission appointed its Vice-Chair, Leland Traiman, a gay activist, to head the Domestic Partner Task Force and draft a policy.