As a public school teacher and thus New York City employee, B.Michael was eligible for certain benefits that were hard-won by his teachers union, including domestic partnership for same-sex couples. (See bulletin from Lambda Legal below.) In February 1994, B.Michael and John Manzon-Santos officially became domestic partners, in large part to access and secure their rights as a couple. For example, as domestic partners, John could be added to B.Michael’s health insurance and be acknowledged legally as B.Michael’s decision-maker in the event of loss of capacity, and vice versa. There had been too many horror stories about the wishes of long-term, same-sex intimate partners being dismissed and dishonored.
In the above vid clip, B.Michael and John complete their Domestic Partnership application, a necessary first step, on Christmas Eve, December 24, 1993. This occasion is joyfully witnessed by cousins Sheilah Mabry (notary), Nikki Harrison (videographer), and Kimberly Wright, along with Kimberly’s scene-stealing son Travis.
Indeed, even though the sound was off during the recording, the blissful vibe is palpable!
On January 7, 1993, then Mayor David Dinkins expanded the definition of domestic partnership through Executive Orders 48 and 49. For B.Michael and John, their first steps to registering included filling out an application as well as an optional Statistical Data Form, about which they gave robust feedback.1994A-dom-part-stats-411