Exxon to offer benefits to same-sex couples
NEW YORK (AP) — Exxon Mobil Corp. said Friday that it will begin offering benefits to legally married same-sex couples in the U.S. for the first time starting next week.
The company says it will recognize “all legal marriages” when it determines eligibility for health care plans for the company’s 77,000 employees and retirees in the U.S.
That means if a gay employee has been married in a state or country where gay marriage is legal, his or her spouse will be eligible for benefits with Exxon in the U.S. as of Oct. 1.
Exxon, which is facing a same-sex discrimination complaint in Illinois, said it was following the lead of the U.S. government. In June, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the Defense of Marriage Act, which had allowed states to refuse to recognize same-sex marriages granted in other states. In recent months, federal agencies have begun to offer benefits to legally-married same sex couples.
“We haven’t changed our eligibility criteria. It has always been to follow the federal definition and it will continue to follow the federal definition,” said Exxon spokesman Alan Jeffers in an interview.
Jeffers said the company offers benefits to same-sex couples in 30 countries, consistent with local laws.
But Exxon has been criticized for declining to offer same-sex benefits or explicitly ban discrimination against gay and transgender workers at a time when many other big companies, including rival oil companies, have done so.
In a ranking this year of corporate anti-discrimination policies to protect gay, lesbian and transgender workers by the Human Rights Campaign, a national gay-rights group, Exxon ranked last.
The company is facing a complaint in Illinois for allegedly discriminating against a gay job applicant. Exxon says the complaint is without merit.
Tico Almeida, founder and president of Freedom to Work, a gay-rights group involved in the Illinois case, commended Exxon for changing its benefit policy, but criticized the company for “dragging its feet.”
“It’s a shame Exxon waited until after the Labor Department issued official guidance explaining that their old policy does not comply with American law,” Almeida said.
Jonathan Fahey can be reached at http://twitter.com/JonathanFahey .
Rules for posting comments
Comments posted below are from readers. In no way do they represent the view of Oahu Publishing Inc. or this newspaper. This is a public forum.
Comments may be monitored for inappropriate content but the newspaper is under no obligation to do so. Comment posters are solely responsible under the Communications Decency Act for comments posted on this Web site. Oahu Publishing Inc. is not liable for messages from third parties.
IP and email addresses of persons who post are not treated as confidential records and will be disclosed in response to valid legal process.
Do not post:
- Potentially libelous statements or damaging innuendo.
- Obscene, explicit, or racist language.
- Copyrighted materials of any sort without the express permission of the copyright holder.
- Personal attacks, insults or threats.
- The use of another person's real name to disguise your identity.
- Comments unrelated to the story.
If you believe that a commenter has not followed these guidelines, please click the FLAG icon below the comment.