Free Society v. Nation-State?
The Devil Wears Prada

Corporate America More Progressive Than the Church

Majority Of Major US Firms Now Offer Domestic Partner Benefits
by Newscenter Staff

June 29, 2006 - 11:00 am ET

(Washington) For the first time the majority of the country's biggest corporations are offering benefits to the same-sex partners of workers according to a new study released Thursday.

As of June 1, 2006, 253, or 51 percent, of the 2006 Fortune 500 companies provided benefits to employees’ same-sex domestic partners.

The report, prepared by the Human Rights Campaign, also shows that 86 percent of Fortune 500 companies include sexual orientation in their non-discrimination policy. As well, 81 percent now include the terms “gender identity” and/or “gender expression” in their non-discrimination statements — 10 times the number that had such policies in 2001.

In releasing the report in Washington the HRC said that the American workplace has reached a milestone.

“While protections for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Americans are stalled in Congress, corporate America continues to surge ahead. This isn’t a Democratic or a Republican issue. It’s an issue of basic fairness and good business,” said Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese.

“As ‘The State of the Workplace’ shows, an investment in equal benefits is minor to the employer but priceless to employees. By removing barriers to employee success, corporate America is ultimately removing barriers to the success of companies across the nation.”

The report, called “The State of the Workplace for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Americans 2005-2006,” is produced annually by HRC.

It also notes improvements on the state level despite setbacks in a number of areas on the issue of same-sex marriage.

In 2005, Montana became the 13th state to extend domestic partner benefits to state employees, the report noted. The state was joined by 16 local municipalities that extended domestic partner benefits during the period covered by this report. As of June 1, 2006, a total of 201 cities and counties granted equal benefits to employees’ partners.

Seven states prohibit discrimination in private sector employment on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity — California, Illinois, Maine, Minnesota, New Mexico, Rhode Island and Washington, plus the District of Columbia. Three states — Illinois, Maine and Washington — joined the list since Jan. 1, 2005. Ten additional states ban workplace discrimination exclusively on sexual orientation.

© 2006


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I am very proud to say that the company I work for, Stewart Information Services Corporation, is one of those Fortune 500 companies extending benefits to same-sex partners. It is still mostly controlled by one family (although it is also publicly traded on the NYSE), the Morris family, who are staunch southern baptists. They seem very progressive on their employee programs, so I rate them highly in my opinion.

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