BY ZACK FORD
In November, after marriage equality passed in Washington state, the Boeing Company said it would not extend survivor benefits to the same-sex spouses of its employees. The company argued that the benefits were governed by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA), and as a federal law it was governed by the Defense of Marriage Act — in other words, Boeing wasn’t providing the benefits because it didn’t have to. Now, according to the union currently negotiating a new contract for the technical workers, the company has agreed to voluntarily provide the pension benefits.
Ray Goforth, executive director of the Society of Professional Engineering Employees in Aerospace (SPEEA), IFPTE Local 2001, explained that if the Defense of Marriage Act is overturned by the Supreme Court this year, the language will protect same-sex couples in any state, even if that state does not itself recognize marriage equality.
Read more at ThinkProgress.org