Job benefits: New challenge for gay & lesbian couples

Stateline Job benefits for gay partners targeted
Alaska alters state constitution to ban benefits to gays

Alaskan voters were the first in the nation to amend their state Constitution to define marriage as a union between a man and a woman to keep gay and lesbian couples from marrying.

Nearly eight years later, Alaskan lawmakers now want to amend their Constitution a second time to prohibit gay couples not only from marrying but also from winning any other marriage-like rights, such as employee partnership benefits...

Unlike marriage -- which is off-limits to gay couples in every state but Massachusetts -- employee benefits are becoming more widely available to same-sex partners in several states. Many large private employers offer domestic partnership benefits to gay employees, and it is not clear how the state marriage amendments would affect these benefits... In 11 of those states (California, Connecticut, Illinois, Iowa, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington), lawmakers or government officials decided to offer the benefits without being challenged in court... 

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