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NEW YORK — Walmart will begin offering health insurance and other benefits to unmarried domestic partners, including same-sex partners, next year, according to published reports.
According to an internal memo obtained by the LGBT blog Towleroad, the retailer cited 30 of its competitors, noting that all but two — Publix and Stop & Shop's union plan — already offer domestic partner benefits. Benefits included in the new Walmart plan include health, dental, 401k and others.
"We operate in 50 states, hundreds of municipalities and Puerto Rico, and as clarified under the Supreme Court's decision regarding the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), each of these states are developing different definitions of marriage, domestic partner, civil union, etc.," the memo read. "By developing a single definition for all Walmart associates in the U.S. and Puerto Rico, we are able to ensure consistency for our associates in various markets."
Gay-rights groups have often criticized Walmart in the past for policies considered anti-gay, but the Human Rights Campaign's 2013 Corporate Equality Index, gave the retailer a 60% rating, citing anti-discrimination and other policies favorable to gay and lesbian employees.