Bil Browning

Get married or else!

Filed By Bil Browning | July 10, 2006 10:40 PM | comments

Filed in: Marriage Equality, The Movement

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.

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It would seem that updating the eligibility requirements for lgbt employees reinforces our argument/point that it's about 'equal rights not special rights'. Good for the Globe, good for us?

Marla R. Stevens | July 13, 2006 7:53 PM

Yes, Kay, good for the Globe on the one hand. But, on the other, they're not doing themselves any favor by setting up a situation where unmarried employees with domestic partners don't have coverage for those employees but, instead, are forced into marriages they might not be ready for in order to get their loved ones insured.

It's really, when it all comes down to it, just an argument for single-payor coverage where fees are based just on the number of individuals covered (subsidized as needed) and not on legal state of their relationships to one another.