Joining several other universities, Northwestern decided earlier this year to grant full partner benefits to same-sex couples who have civil unions. Almost 40 percent of American colleges now provide at least health benefits to same-gender couples.

The policy is progressive, but not that progressive. According to an article by Jodi Cohen in the Chicago Tribune:

Soon after Northwestern University professor Robert Fourer entered into a civil union, he did what many others in newly recognized relationships have done: He applied to add his partner to his health insurance.

But Northwestern denied his request because his partner is a woman.

While the Illinois Civil Union law makes no distinction between being in a relationship with a man or woman (that’s kind of the point, isn’t it?) Northwestern has apparently set up its own distinction.

The policy apparently does not apply to opposite-gender couples, who cannot take advantage of civil union or common-law status and provide benefits to their domestic partners. They have to submit to the nuptial-industrial complex and actually get married in order to receive the full partner benefits.

According to Northwestern’s Alan Cubbage, vice president of university relations, “We will see what our experience is this year and next year we will see … what alternatives we want to offer. It is an interesting issue. Who knows where we will end up a year from now.”

Yes, “who knows” what bizarre form of discrimination the university will support next year. It sure is an “interesting issue,” isn’t it?

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Daniel Luzer is the news editor at Governing Magazine and former web editor of the Washington Monthly. Find him on Twitter: @Daniel_Luzer