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Walmart Opens Up Health Benefits to Gay Couples in New Policy Shift

  • Religion Today
    Religious persecution, missions, Christianity around the world
  • 2013 Aug 29
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Walmart has announced it will begin offering health benefits to same-sex couples, the Christian Post reports. The nation's largest retailer explained its policy change has come about following the recent Supreme Court decision on same-sex marriage and a desire to reflect many states' legalization of gay marriage. Under the revised policy, Walmart will extend benefits to employees who are married, as well as unmarried employees in a relationship of 12 months or more, regardless of the sex of their partner. The company will not require employees to prove they have a spouse to qualify. Some see Walmart's decision as putting pressure on other large firms that have still not committed to extending benefits to same-sex couples. Wallace Hopp, associate dean of faculty and research at the University of Michigan's Stephen M. Ross School of Business, noted that Walmart, as the largest retailer in the U.S., definitely has an influence on other retailers. He told Bloomberg News: "They're so big that everything [Walmart does] sets an example." Currently, 62 percent of Fortune 500 companies offer benefits to same-sex couples. That is a massive rise since 2002 when just 34 percent did so, according to the LGBT activist group Human Rights Campaign.