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More big businesses bestow gay partner benefits

Corporations and big businesses across the U.S., including Colorado, are extending health insurance and other spousal benefits to same-sex domestic partners of employees. For the first time, the majority of Fortune 500 companies and 90 percent of all large employers are showing corporate support for gay and transgender rights.

It has been 6 months since the U.S. Supreme Court deemed the federal Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional. Since then, companies like Wal-Mart Stores Inc., Hormel Foods LLC and Wendy's International Inc. have instituted policies prohibiting discrimination against LGBT workers and job applicants. According to the Human Rights Campaign, its most recent annual Corporate Equality Index showed a record high of businesses making efforts to eliminate employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. Of the 737 private companies surveyed and assessed, 86 percent adopted anti-discrimination policies. Though same-sex marriage remains illegal in 34 states and no federal law bans LGBT discrimination in the workplace, the index indicates private entities are filling in the gaps for the rights and recognition of members of the gay and transgender community, according to one of the campaign's directors.

Following the ruling, the IRS and U.S. Labor Department compelled businesses to grant pension benefits to widows and widowers of same-sex marriages regardless of whether their states of residence recognized gay marriages. Even the most conservative companies are now legally mandated to comply and develop procedures to confirm eligibility.

It may be beneficial for Gay Partner Benefits Growing At Fortune 500 Firms", December 08, 2013

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