GM has expanded its commitment to equality—albeit with an eye on business—by recently announcing that it would offer the same benefits to employees’ spouses in same-sex marriages as it does for those in different-sex unions. The changes cover same-sex couples in legally recognized marriages, but to be clear, the families need not live in one of the growing number of states that supports equal rights, just be married there.
After that, the GM employees will be able take advantage of marriage benefits like:
- Naming a same-sex spouse as a “spousal beneficiary” for corporate savings plans
- Adding a same-sex spouse to GM health care plans without federal tax consequences
- Providing for “surviving spouse” benefits in company pension plans
But the fact of the matter is that GM has been offering benefits for same-sex domestic partners, as well as their eligible dependents, for more than 13 years. And it will continue to do so for the foreseeable future, providing an important bulwark against discrimination based on sexual preference.
Now, as mentioned, the official statement here does put an emphasis on the business case for fair treatment, with Ken Barrett, GM’s chief diversity officer, noting that: “This decision is in line with GM’s efforts to find, keep and grow the world’s best talent and to offer our employees policies and benefits that are competitive with many of the largest and best-managed industrial companies in the U.S.”
But in an interesting coincidence, the decision also happens to be in line with the Pledge of Allegiance—see that part about “liberty and justice for all.”