The Wall Street Journal today reports a policy shift that I had predicted and recommended 20 years ago. Rachel Emma Silverman writes:
Amid a push that has made same-sex marriage legal in 37 states and the District of Columbia, some employers are telling gay workers they must wed in order to maintain health-care coverage for their partners. About a third of public- and private-sector employees in the U.S. have access to benefits for unmarried gay partners, according to a federal tally, but employment lawyers say the fast-changing legal outlook is spurring some employers to rethink that coverage.
“If the Supreme Court rules that suddenly there is marriage equality in 50 states, the landscape totally changes,” says Todd Solomon, a law partner in the employee-benefits practice group at McDermott Will & Emery in Chicago, who has been tracking domestic partnership benefits for nearly two decades.
Such a decision will likely result in more employers dropping same-sex partner benefits in favor of spousal benefits, according to Mr. Solomon.
Over the past decade, a growing share of companies has offered coverage for gay employees and their partners as a way to provide equal benefits for couples who couldn’t legally wed. Others companies offer coverage more broadly to unmarried domestic partners, regardless of sexual orientation.
Now, some employers who offer benefits targeting same-sex partners say it is only fair to require those couples to marry where legal, just as their straight co-workers must do to extend coverage.
I anticipated that eventuality in a January 4, 1995, op-ed in the New York Times, as the movement for marriage equality, civil unions, and domestic partnership was just beginning: