Aircraft manufacturer Boeing has reversed course on pension benefits for married couples who are gay and lesbian.

In November, Boeing said passage of a gay marriage law in Washington state would not affect such benefits.

The company, which was founded in Seattle and maintains a large number of employees in the state, said at the time it would likely deny “pension survivor benefits to same-sex married couples.”

In the course of contract negotiations, the company told union representative Ray Goforth that such benefits are covered by federal law and that Boeing does not plan to voluntarily extend the benefits to the spouses of gay employees.

“Their answer was that they had no intention of granting pension survivor benefits to legally married same-sex couples because they didn't have to,” Goforth told Seattle alternative The Stranger. “We are profoundly disappointed that they would use a loophole to engage in institutionalized discrimination.”

The Stranger reported on Friday, that Boeing had had a change of heart. New contract language states that “Boeing will extend pension survivor benefits to all spouses, as defined under State or Federal law whichever defines the same sex person as a spouse.”

Pending legislation which seeks to make Illinois the 10th state to legalize gay nuptials could have played a factor in the decision. Boeing is headquartered in Chicago.