Are gay couples entitled to the same benefits as straight couples?

What constitutes a family? Couples these days are breaking ground for all kinds of new definitions. Some companies go along when the issue of family benefits is involved; others are reluctant to do so. The same thing goes for communities.

02/01/1999


What constitutes a family? Couples these days are breaking ground for all kinds of new definitions. Some companies go along when the issue of family benefits is involved; others are reluctant to do so.

The same thing goes for communities. In San Francisco, two gay women picked up a license in city hall certifying them as "domestic partners." An unmarried couple in Vermont failed to get similar recognition.

States Newsweek : "Domestic partnership was unheard of a decade ago." Today it is not exactly commonplace, but an increasing number of companies are currently setting up DP benefits plans despite opposition from religious and conservative groups.

When Supply Room Attendant Al Graham applied for bereavement leave following the death of Frank Reynolds, his live-in lover, Maintenance Foreman George Petty didn't know how to handle the request. He wisely sought his boss' advice.

Question: If this were your problem to deal with, would you grant Graham the leave?

Marshall's decision: In responding to Petty, Plant Engineer Ed Marshall quoted an observation made by Donna Goya, Levi Strauss' senior vice president of human resources: "This is really a discrimination issue. We realize that family structures are changing and want to respect this diversity."

Marshall sent the response backto Petty, reading "Bereavement leave approved."





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