Walmart to Extend Benefits to Same-Sex Spouses
As reported on JoeMyGod, Walmart employees received a memo yesterday informing them of the company's new policy to extend benefits to same-sex spouses of associates eligible for its health and accident plans.
"It's a business decision, not a moral or political decision" says Walmart Senior Vice President Sally Welborn. The memo which goes on to state "We operate in 50 states, hundreds of municipalities and Puerto Rico, and as clarified under the Supreme Court's decision to strike down section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), each of these states are developing different definitions of marriage, domestic partner, civil union, etc. By developing a single definition for all Walmart associates in the U.S. and Puerto Rico, we are able to ensure consistency for associates across our markets."
The memo also contains a line that could be interpreted as a subtle warning to some of the company's less gay friendly employees. "Your behavior matters. The words you use also matter. We are counting on you to be thoughtful, supportive and understanding of multiple viewpoints. Your visibility can make a big difference to how associates feel."
Previous to yesterday's announcement, Walmart had received a 60 in the Human Rights Campaign Foundation's 2013 Corporate Equality Index - the national benchmarking tool on corporate policies and practices related to LGBT employees.