The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has rejected ExxonMobil's request to block a gay protections resolution.

The oil giant wanted a resolution proposed by New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli dropped from voting by shareholders during its annual shareholders meeting on May 30.

The resolution would add sexual orientation and gender identity to the company's equal employment opportunity (EEO) policy.

ExxonMobil now stands alone among Fortune 50 companies in not offering such protections to its LGBT workers.

The company argued that a “zero tolerance” policy already in place offered gay employees similar protections. The SEC disagreed.

“We are unable to concur in your view that ExxonMobil may exclude the proposal under rule 14a-8(i)(l0). Based on the information you have presented, it appears that ExxonMobil's policies, practices, and procedures do not compare favorably with the guidelines of the proposal and that ExxonMobil has not, therefore, substantially implemented the proposal. Accordingly, we do not believe that ExxonMobil may omit the proposal from its proxy materials in reliance on rule 14a-8(i)(10),” the SEC said in denying the request.

Prior to being acquired by Exxon Corp. in 1999, Mobil Corp. prohibited discrimination based on sexual orientation and offered health benefits to the domestic partners of its employees.

Joe Solmonese, president of the Human Rights Campaign, the nation's largest gay rights advocate, applauded the SEC's ruling.

“The SEC has cleared a path to progress for the thousands of LGBT people employed by ExxonMobil,” Solmonese said in a statement. “The company has been aggressively resistant to change and is way out of step with their direct competitors as well as the majority of Fortune 500 companies. Given this opportunity for change, we call on ExxonMobil shareholders to adopt a legally binding policy that protects all employees.”

“New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli deserves special recognition for his ongoing dedication to ensuring good corporate citizenship and for helping ExxonMobil's LGBT employees,” he added.

ExxonMobil in December earned HRC's first-ever negative score on its Corporate Equality Index (CEI), which rates companies on their workplace policies as they relate to LGBT employees.