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View Diary: Is Boeing poised to deny Washington married couples equal benefits? (71 comments)

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  •  Under your reading of section 3(a) of DOMA (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Scott Wooledge, sfbob

    it seems possible that an ERISA covered agreement could possibly not even include same sex couples in its definition of marriage.

    So to what extent does DOMA, by way of ERISA, create mandatory terms in a private contract like this?

    Seems like an interesting law review article.

    Ok, so I read the polls.

    by andgarden on Fri Nov 23, 2012 at 09:19:25 PM PST

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    •  It doesn't (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      grover, sfbob

      Boeing and the union can probably agree to the coverage--in fact, I think Boeing already provides benefits to same-sex spouses of salaried employees--and I don't think DOMA reaches it.

      "Well, I'm sure I'd feel much worse if I weren't under such heavy sedation..."--David St. Hubbins

      by Old Left Good Left on Fri Nov 23, 2012 at 09:32:34 PM PST

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      •  Hypo: (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        sfbob

        The contract explicitly imports Washington State's marriage law. What if a same sex surviving spouse bring suit in Federal court? The iron-clad strength of ERISA's preemption clause would seem to potentially cause a problem.

        This is above my pay grade (and beyond the research I've done), but I think it's a pretty good illustration of why DOMA is so outrageous.

        Ok, so I read the polls.

        by andgarden on Fri Nov 23, 2012 at 09:40:30 PM PST

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      •  Boeing allows employess (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        sfbob

        to register their same-spouses for COBRA coverage.

        I've been searching around and not seeing it explicitly that they cover partners, but I'm guessing they do, as they let them enroll in employee assistance programs and health programs, and HRC gave them awards.

        Overall, seem like a good track record on diversity.

        Which is not to say I think it's any better that they're just nickel and diming the LGBT community for the sake of money and not animus. The end result is the same: discriminatory policy and compensation.

        Supporter: "Senator, you have the vote of every thinking person!" Adlai Stevenson: "That's not enough, madam, we need a majority!"

        by Scott Wooledge on Fri Nov 23, 2012 at 10:05:09 PM PST

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        •  IANAL but I rather think that it would (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Scott Wooledge

          be possible to craft a union contract that had the effect of preserving benefits for survivors of a same-sex marriage without ever getting into a conflict with ERISA or DOMA.  Perhaps one could just have the company commit to paying the equivalent of whatever would have been to amount, out of another account.

          I rather expect that the money involved isn't likely to be significant to Boeing in the larger scheme of things - this may be routine gamesmanship in a contract negotiation, it could be that the Boeing lawyers honestly think that they have no choice given the precise wording of the laws involve, or it could be Boeing being a jerk.  I think that which of these is the case will become apparent over time.

          And I will personally commit, that until this is resolved in favor of equality, I will NOT buy even a single Boeing jet!

          :)

          •  We do see end-run arounds (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            PeterHug

            on other issues. DOMA prevents same-sex couples from filing joint tax returns and from paying for benefits like health-insurance out of pre-tax wages, creating economic disparities between same-sex couples and equally situated opposite sex coupled employees.

            Companies like Google, Barclays and others have fixed that by paying their same-sex couples the difference, so their take home pay is the same.

            It seems to me, if a company has the desire to create an equitable work environment they are able, their hands are not tied, particularly one of Boeing's means.

            Supporter: "Senator, you have the vote of every thinking person!" Adlai Stevenson: "That's not enough, madam, we need a majority!"

            by Scott Wooledge on Sat Nov 24, 2012 at 10:44:13 AM PST

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