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December 08, 2004
Some Mass. Employers Withdraw Domestic Partner Benefits

Employers in Massachusetts are dropping domestic partner health benefits because same-sex couples now have the right to marry in the state and have the same health-benefit options of other married couples, the Boston Globe reports.

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IBM. Corp., Raytheon Co., Northeastern University, the National Fire Protection Association, Boston Medical Center, Baystate Health System, and the New York Times Co. are among the employers terminating domestic-partner benefits, the newspaper reports.

Seven months ago, Massachusetts became the first state to legalize same-sex marriage. Since then, some employers in the state have begun to phase out or terminate domestic partner health benefits, saying if the employees would like to continue coverage for partners, they will need to be married, according to the newspaper.

Employers cite fairness as the reason for terminating domestic-partner benefits, saying they are trying to treat same-sex and opposite-sex couples the same.

"We're saying if you're a same-sex domestic partner, you now have the same option heterosexuals have, so we have to apply the same rules to you," says Larry Emerson, vice president of human resources at Baystate Health System.

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