Exxon Mobil Corp., a company of over 77,000 employees and retirees in the U.S., said it plans to follow the lead of the U.S. government and extend benefits to legally married same-sex couples in the United States. As the Associated Press reported on September 27, the company plans to recognize "all legal marriages" and benefits will begin on Oct. 1.
The decision comes months after the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the Defense of Marriage Act and conveniently for Exxon, the timing coincides with the company facing a same-sex discrimination lawsuit in Illinois. The company assures the lawsuit has nothing to do with their decision and they are just joining other federal agencies that have begun to offer same-sex benefits to legally-married couples since the historic Supreme court hearing.
Exxon spokesman Alan Jeffers said in an interview:
"We haven't changed our eligibly criteria. It has always been to follow the federal definition and it will continue to follow the federal definition."
The benefits will be given to gay employees and their spouses who have been married in a state or country where gay marriage is legal.