The headline of the Human Rights Campaign‘s (HRC) press release on Monday borrows from a headline on this blog nine days previously. On Monday, June 6, 2005, HRC wrote, “NEW HRC REPORT REVEALS CORPORATE AMERICA LEADING IN PROTECTING GAY AND TRANSGENDER EMPLOYEES” while on Saturday, May 28, I had headlined a post, “Private sector leads the way in offering benefits to gays.”
It seems both HRC and this blog recognize the superiority of the private sector. According to HRC’s new report, The State of the Workplace for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Americans 2004 (download available here), at least 8,250 employers provide domestic partnership benefits while 216 of the Fortune 500 companies provide domestic partner benefits, “a tenfold increase since 1995, when only 21 did so.”
The Washington Post reports that HRC president Joe Solmonese said, “As we suspected, corporate America is well ahead of America generally in terms of extending basic rights to all people.” In addition, 410 companies in the Fortune 500 (82%) have added sexual orientation to their non-discrimination policies by the end of 2004.
According to the report (p. 20 of the report, p. 22 on my downloaded .pdf version), at the “end of 2004, a total of 185 cities, counties and quasi-governmental agencies also provided health insurance coverage to domestic partners.” Eleven states offer insurance benefits to partners of state’s public employees while “six states ? California, Hawaii, Maine, Massachusetts, New Jersey and Vermont, plus the District of Columbia ? recognized and provided varying rights and benefits to same-sex couples.”
Looks like the private sector is well ahead of governments in recognizing same-sex civil unions. Kudos to HRC for putting together this report every year. Another sign that things continue to improve for gay and lesbian citizens in the United States. And a sign to trust more to private institutions than to public ones.