Medtronic, St. Jude Medical pursue diversity as MN mulls same-sex marriage ban

As Minnesota voters gear up to consider a proposed constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage, two major medical device companies headquartered there have staked out more inclusive policies, notes a Star Tribune opinion piece. Medtronic ($MDT) hasn't spoken out either way on the proposed marriage amendment, the article notes. But the company recently enhanced its 13-year-old policy offering health coverage to employees' domestic partners. Employees in this situation previously had to pay a tax on the their partners' benefits, but now Medtronic will provide "tax assistance" to compensate for the added cost (legally married employees don't have the same liability). Medtronic CEO Omar Ishrak tweeted that his company is "fully committed to diversity & inclusion--[and] will support programs, services & benefits reflecting that commitment." Meanwhile, Medtronic's archrival St. Jude Medical ($STJ) has formally announced its opposition to the amendment; the company has offered domestic partner benefits since 2005. The argument: That more inclusive benefits allow companies to have a wider, more experienced base from which to hire. Column