At least 806 employers of all sizes expanded their health benefits in 2002 to include same-sex partners, bringing the total number of employers offering health benefits to same-sex partners to 5,698 at the year of 2002. The number of Fortune 500 companies offering domestic-partner benefits to same-sex couples grew by 13% for a total of 169 at year’s end , according to a study by the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Foundation, the nation’s largest gay and lesbian organization.
Although the number of employers offering domestic partner benefits and having sexual orientation non-discrimination policies grew between 2001 and 2002, the growth rate for both these factors declined compared to the 24% growth rate in 2001. HRC attributes this to the rocky state of the US and world economies and the political uncertainties since September 11, 2001.
At the same time, the number of employers instituting non-discrimination policies covering gender identity rose 43%, compared to 16% the year before. Further, a majority (61%) of Fortune 500 companies had these policies in place by the end of 2002.
There was also a sharp increase in the number of local governments that passed laws in 2002 barring workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation employees. Fifteen cities and counties enacted laws in 2002 banning discrimination based on sexual orientation, compared with eight in 2001. By the end of last year, 119 cities and 23 counties had such laws in place.
A copy of the report is available for download at www.hrc.org .