Boston Globe Changes Policy on Domestic Partner Benefits

July 10, 2006 ( - A memo sent to the Globe's Boston Newspaper Guild members states that homosexual Guild employees in Massachusetts who want to keep their domestic partner benefits must marry.

According to the Boston Herald, the memo requires homosexual employees to marry by January 1, 2007, for dental and health benefits coverage for their partners to continue at employee rates.

Steve Behenna, the Globe’s compensation and benefits director, said concerns of discrimination claims by unmarried straight couples played a role in the policy change at the newspaper, according to the Herald. The Globe does not extend benefits to domestic partners of heterosexual employees.

Many companies offered benefits to domestic partners of homosexual employees because marriage was not an option for them.

“There is a trend towards doing what the Globe did,” Paul Holtzman, an attorney specializing in employment law at Krokidas & Bluestein, told the Herald. “A number of employers have taken the position that now that same-sex marriage is an option there is no longer a need to offer domestic partner benefits.”

Domestic partner benefits will continue for those employees who work at the Globe but live in states where same-sex marriage is not recognized, Behenna said.

Massachusetts became the first state in the US to recognize same-sex marriage in November 2003 (See Mass. Supreme Court: Gay Couples Entitled to Legal Marriage Rights).