by Christopher Freeburn | August 28, 2013 10:33 am
On Tuesday, the nation’s largest retail chain announced that it will extend health insurance coverage to the domestic partners of all U.S. employees, regardless of their sex.
Walmart (WMT) said the change will take effect next year. Under the policy, domestic partners will be covered if they are in an exclusive relationship that has lasted at least one year with plans to continue living in the same household, Reuters notes.
The chain employs about 1.3 million workers in the U.S., making it the largest private employer in America. Walmart provides health insurance to roughly half of its workforce.
In addition to the new domestic partner benefits, Walmart said it will add enhanced vision care plans to its coverage.
In June, the U.S. Supreme Court handed gay marriage advocates two victories, including striking down provisions of the Defense of Marriage Act, which prevented the federal government from recognizing same-sex marriages.
Earlier this month, Minnesota and Rhode Island became the latest states to legalize same-sex marriages.
Shares of Walmart fell modestly in Wednesday morning trading.
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