Walmart told employees yesterday that it would extend its health and other benefits to "domestic partners" of employees, including partners of the same sex.
In a postcard that was provided to the Bloomberg news organization, the largest U.S. employee said that full-time associates' spouses and domestic partners will be eligible for coverage in medical, dental, vision, life, critical illness and accident plans.
Research by the Human Rights Campaign shows 62% of Fortune 500 companies already offer domestic partner benefits. But the Supreme Court's June decision overturning part of a federal law that denied federal benefits to legally married same-sex partners has heightened attention on same-sex benefits.
The organization -- the nation's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender civil rights organization -- praised Wal-Mart. "What matters in the workplace is how you do your job, not your gender identity or sexual orientation," said HRC President Joe Solmonese. "As the nation's largest private employer, Walmart shows that doing the right thing is also good for business."