Its a weird concept for me just like the fact that americans have a legal claim of 0 vacation days.
I think you just answered your own question. Two different countries, 2 different systems.
There are many reasons why extended benefits to domestic partners should not require such strict demands. Equal treatment is one thing, but you still need to fight harder for basic rights that go way beyond your sexual orientation. Equal treatment is "duh" and somethig to be expected, not something to be thankful for to the point that you are willing to forgive everything else.
i am canadian....
there are two different "systems" (i.e., countries & ideologies) at work here - and you cannot expect the outcomes to be the same.
yes, same sex relationships - from the employment benefits perspective (as per the original post), have been around forever (think it was the late 70s). in part, it resulted when two men took an employee up a human rights case. the courts judged that a same sex couple could no be discriminated against and were entitled to benefits. when i took my first job after grad school in 1980, i and my partner had same sex benefits. as previously noted, at hiring in completing your paper work, you just put down the name of your partner (same sex or otherwise).
a fun fact on gay marriage....
i live in british columbia. as many of you may know, gay marriage has been around for quiet awhile. when the government brought in the law, there were a few people who refused to marry same sex couples. again, off to the courts some couple who were refused to be married go. the rules here in bc are if you refuse to marry a same sex couple, you lose your licence to perform marriages. you never hear of anyone refusing to marry a same sex couple now.