Exxon on Friday announced that it will begin extending benefits to
the spouses of gay employees in the United States as of October 1.
The oil giant said that it will recognize “all legal marriages”
for the purpose of health care plans.
Exxon Mobil Corp. said that it was simply following the federal
government's lead. As a result of the Supreme Court striking down
the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), federal agencies have begun to
offer benefits to married gay and lesbian couples.
“We haven't changed our eligibility criteria,” Exxon spokesman
Alan Jeffers told the AP. “It has always been to follow the
federal definition and it will continue to follow the federal
Tico Almeida, founder and president of Freedom to Work, cheered
the announcement as a breakthrough.
“After years of stubbornly refusing, we commend Exxon for
joining the majority of the Fortune 500 business leaders that already
treat gay and lesbian married couples equally under employee benefit
plans,” Almeida said in an emailed statement.
Earlier this year, Freedom to Work filed a same-sex discrimination
lawsuit against Exxon in Illinois.
Mobil sued for anti-gay discrimination ahead of planned vote.)
“It's time for Exxon to stop wasting its shareholders' money by
running up legal bills on discrimination proceedings that can be
settled right away if the corporation would simply add LGBT
protections to Exxon's official equal employment opportunity
document,” Almeida added.