Gay and lesbian employees at the Boston Globe were recently told the company's domestic partner benefits were being eliminated. After all, the company only offered the benefits to homosexual couples - not heterosexual unmarried couples. But now that the playing ground has been leveled in Massachusetts they need to make the benefits, well, equal.
A memo sent to the Globe's Boston Newspaper Guild members, and obtained by the Herald, states that Massachusetts gay Guild employees can extend their benefits to their partners only if they marry.
"An employee who currently covers a same-sex domestic partner as a dependent will have to marry his or her partner by Jan. 1 for the employee benefits coverage to continue at the employee rates," the memo states.
The policy change at the Globe, which devotes extensive coverage to gay issues, opens a new can of worms in the Bay State as employers rethink their domestic partner benefits in the wake of the legalization of gay marriage in 2004.
Benefits for domestic partners were originally offered to gay employees because they couldn't legally marry, said Ilene Robinson Sunshine, a lawyer at Sullivan & Worcester.
Now that gay marriage is legal in Massachusetts companies that offer benefits to gay employees' partners risk hearing cries of discrimination from unmarried straight couples.