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Exxon Mobil to Offer Benefits to Same-Sex Couples

BananaStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- The Exxon Mobil Corporation announced on Friday that it would extend health insurance and other benefits to married same-sex couples starting next month, an change of heart for the company that faced notable criticism for its treatment of gay and lesbian workers.

Exxon Mobil had been pressured by human rights groups, pensions funds and shareholders to protect its gay and lesbian employees from discrimination, but had withstood the pressure until Friday. According to the New York Times, the change of heart is based more on federal government policies than on moral grounds.

Since the Supreme Court determined that the Defense of Marriage Act was unconstitutional earlier this year, the government has created new rules dictating appropriate treatment of gay couples.

The Labor Department issued guidance last week stating that same-sex couples should receive the same treatment as opposite-sex spouses. The Times notes that while employers are not mandated to provide medical benefits to spouses, the government agency urged that if a company opts to do so, they do so for both same-sex and heterosexual couples.

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