New York State recently legalized gay marriage. Prior to this legalization, our university was very proactive about recognizing same sex couples, particularly when it came to employee benefits. Indeed, if you were a U of R employee your same-sex partner was eligible to receive health insurance coverage under your plan (as well as children).
However, now that same-sex marriages have been legalized in New York, the U of R has now been forced to drop this option for couples. In an attempt to create a situation where traditional couples and same sex couples were treated equally, the U of R now only extends health and other benefits to partners that are married. What this means of course is that same-sex couples who had not married, nor ever intended to marry, find themselves in a worse position today than before the marriage legislation was passed.
I am sure that was not the intention of the advocates of the law.