Two of the largest U.S. telecommunications companies, Sprint and SBC Communications, will continue to offer same-sex domestic partner benefits to employees in Kansas despite the overwhelming passage of a broadly worded anti-gay marriage amendment in the state this week.
On Tuesday, Kansas voters passed an amendment to the state constitution banning same-sex marriage by a 70-30 margin. The amendment defined marriage as between one man and one woman, and stated that, “No relationship, other than a marriage, shall be recognized by the state as entitling the parties to the rights or incidents of marriage.”
Legal experts have warned that the latter part of the amendment may jeopardize domestic partner benefits in Kansas, mirroring battles being waged in other states. Last month Michigan Attorney General Mike Cox argued that public employers in that state cannot provide domestic partner benefits to same-sex couples because of a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage passed by Michigan voters last November.
Sprint and SBC are the first companies to make clear they will continue to offer the benefits not only to their employees in Kansas, but also nationwide.