Partners, Domestic and Otherwise, and ERISA Preemption

Here’s the Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly article on Partners Healthcare System v. Sullivan, the case I posted on a couple weeks back involving the question of whether preemption prevented the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination from taking action against Partners over its decision to allow benefits to be granted to its employees’ same sex, but not opposite sex, partners. It’s a good article that provides some nice context and background to the case. The Partners case is important to a certain extent, even if not doctrinally, because when you combine that case with Judge Gertner’s recent inquiry, addressed here, as to whether an employer could likewise limit benefits only to opposite sex, but not same sex, spouses, you see the complexities presented by trying to bring ERISA and state anti-discrimination laws into line with Massachusetts’ acceptance of same sex marriages.