"Diversity" has been an increasingly popular buzzword in the workplace over the last several years. Traditionally, approaches to diversity primarily referred to the manner in which companies addressed legislative and regulatory issues of equal employment opportunity and affirmative action related to race and gender. In today's business culture, diversity has become a strategy that will increase a company's ability to remain competitive in the face of changing demographics and the rapid globalization of business. Many companies, both public and private, have recognized the need to take advantage of the variety of skills and experiences that today's diverse workforce offers. Recognition of this diversity has brought to the forefront new issues that employers must address. Equitably managing the employee benefits portion of a compensation package is one such issue. Since employee benefits can account for 30 to 40 percent of an employee's compensation, the manner in which these benefits are offered and administered can have a significant impact for both the employer and the employee (Isaacson 1). In particular, the issue of offering domestic partner benefits has caused considerable debate. "Domestic partnership" is defined in this paper as two adults in an ongoing, emotional and financial relationship similar to a marriage, who cannot legally marry or who are not married. While some people feel that domestic partner benefits are not cost effective and are morally wrong, many companies have realized that to accurately value the diversity of their workforce they must offer domestic partner benefits, therefore domestic partner benefits should not be an issue.
In today's competitive marketplace, companies must look at every decision with an eye towards cost effectiveness. Initially, costs were the primary concern when the first companies began to contemplate offering domestic partner benefits to their employees.