Ken Schram: Boeing should lead on same-sex issues

Boeing, once again, needs to take a leadership role.

The world's largest producer of airplanes appears very reticent when it comes to providing married gay couples with survivor pension benefits.

The point raised by Boeing is that pensions come under federal regulations and the federal government doesn't recognize same-sex marriage laws.

I find that to be an odd stance for Boeing to take.

That's because Boeing has long been one of the companies to take the point when it came to providing benefits to same-sex couples.

The issue of pension benefits has come up during negotiations between Boeing and SPEEA, the engineering union that represents more than 20,000 Boeing employees.

The marriage equality law passed here in Washington - which goes into effect early next month - does not address pension benefits, an issue that has not been formally introduced into the negotiations.

But it's a natural.

If a heterosexual spouse is entitled to those benefits, why wouldn't a gay spouse?

There's nothing to prevent Boeing from such inclusion and I think it is a weak position to try to hide behind federal regulations that, at some point, will have to catch up to state laws.

As noted, it's time for Boeing to once again take a leadership role.


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