Walmart Quietly Announces It Will (Finally) Provide Benefits To Same-Sex Couples

walmartrainbowIn a mass postcard mailing — because it’s 1895 –the nation’s largest employer, Walmart, announced it would provide benefits to domestic partners, including same-sex couples.

Consistently one of Fortune magazine’s top businesses, the superchain has a checkered past when it comes to the LGBT community — and that’s not even including the “trannysaurus” greeting cards. However, by adding trans protections to its employee policy in 2011, Walmart was able to bring its Human Right Campaign Corporate Equality Index score up from a dismal 40 to a respectable-ish 60.

HRC President Chad Griffin, a former Walmart employee during his teenage years in Arkansas, said in an emailed statement to USA Today that he was “moved by my former employer’s historic action that further proves equality is good business.”

According to spokesman Randy Hargrove, Walmart was already in the process of better defining what a domestic partner is, but the  Supreme Court’s decision to strike down DOMA — as well as the looming presence of Obamacare — was the extra kick they needed.

Employees can now claim their partners — whether same or opposite sex, married or unmarried — as long as they’ve been “living together in an ongoing exclusive” relationship for at least 12 months and intend to stay that way, Hargrove said. He added, however, “No proof is required today to enroll a spouse.”

So yay, benefits! Good luck getting them, though, since employees rarely work enough hours to qualify for healthcare coverage or to pay the high deductibles.

“The real issue with Walmart’s health care is that most of us are unable to afford the coverage,” said former employee Lucas Handy, who earned a whopping $8.95 an hour before being fired in July.

Hey, that’s still $1.70 more than the federal minimum wage so Walmart isn’t completely evil. Just a respectable-ish “mostly evil.”

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  • andy_d

    They STILL need to provide a living wage and ENOUGH HOURS FOR EMPLOYEES TO EARN THE BENFITS. This is, IMO, just a red herring publicity stunt.

  • David Gervais

    In a story elsewhere, a spokes person gave the corporate reasoning that influenced the decision. The long version is approximately: With the prospect of almost every state having different rules, the administration cost was so high that it was cheaper to just treat everyone the same..

    So, as with honesty is the best policy, now equality is the best policy too.

  • 1EqualityUSA

    I still won’t shop there, but thanks for the equal treatment towards gays.

  • longpastdue

    I just generally have the opinion that the main goal of a business is and should be to maximize profits through whatever means available. So if they can get away with paying people less and not giving them enough hours for benefits then that is what they should do. in a free market economy it is up to the people to hold businesses accountable for their actions so if you have a problem with the way walmart runs, it’s basically your own fault. That being said I think this move is a good one and will probably end up bringing more profits to them in the long run.

  • Spike

    I empathize and sympathize with anyone, gay or str8t, that finds themselves working at Walmart. And anyone that shops at Walmart, shame on you.

  • Cam

    “HRC President Chad Griffin, a former Walmart employee during his teenage years in Arkansas, said in an emailed statement to USA Today that he was ”moved by my former employer’s historic action that further proves equality is good business.”

    Typical HRC…it isn’t a historic action when their years late to the party.

    The fact is that Wal Mart is finally starting to realize that in the days of social media they have to at least minimally abide by some form of common decency or it will effect their bottom line.

  • Cam

    @longpastdue: said.. “So if they can get away with paying people less and not giving them enough hours for benefits then that is what they should do.


    Actually Costco pays far more and yet their labor cost is far less than Wal Mart, so they are actually engaging in a poor business practice.

  • Vartan X.


    Shame on them for shopping at Walmart? Tell that to the working class gays and lesbians, how shameful and preposterous of them to shop at Walmart. Get out of your fantasy world and realize that not every gay person can afford to shop anywhere else besides Walmart. Obviously, snobby rich liberals could care less about working class gays… just like Republicans.

  • philipj999

    I shop at Walmart as little as possible. My partner and I have discovered if you do a little work, shop the sales, and use coupons you can save enough. That said, Walmart employs many temp workers, who get no benefits. Just remember, when you shop at there you are paying twice. Once in the store, and again when the ’employees’ get public benefits paid for by your taxes. Yep, medicare, AFDC (food stamps), etc. This is while the Waltons sit back on their white trashes asses and rake in the bucks. I did hear that they will be looking to screw American suppliers over now that Chinese imports are becoming more expensive.

  • Cam

    @Vartan X.:

    Does anybody else notice that when the trolls come on here they can’t wait to attack anybody with the word “Liberal”?

    Hey Vartan, here is a thought, maybe if you “Conservatives” weren’t so anti-American you wouldn’t want to support a company responsible for shipping millions of American manufacturing jobs overseas, the type of jobs that paid well enough that the workers didn’t need to apply for food stamps even though they already had a job.

    But then again, since you and your ilk seem to hate actual American workers I guess you wouldn’t care now would you?

  • Spike

    @Vartan X.: Walmart has destroyed Main Street America, and now they destroying the middle class. I guess in your opinion, working class gays are not affected by this and only benefit when they can buy Tide for 75 cents less.

    Until working class gays can come up with the $$$ needed to affect political and social change (I’m guessing you were under a rock during the last Presidential election and haven’t paying too close attention to recent SCOTUS decisions), snobby rich liberals that donate and support the LGBT community will ALWAYS be welcome! Now be on your way, troll.

  • Vartan X.


    Since when the word “troll” is defined as someone who doesn’t necessarily conform to every belief shared by a group of people? Besides, I am not a conservative. Read my post carefully. You are being paranoid, and labeling someone “troll” or “conservative” for expressing an opinion you disagree with is unjustified.

    There was nothing in my post to suggest that I support Walmart’s business practices. I was merely responding to Spike’s vicious assault on working class gays and lesbians of this country who struggle to survive in today’s financial climate, when every dollar spent matters. I lived in a part of Florida where my grocery shopping choices were limited to either Walmart or Publix. Publix was too costly. So, I shopped at Walmart because that’s what I was able to afford. Does that mean I am a bad man, a white trash, a Bible-thumping religious fanatic, a certified redneck imbecile, a pathetic excuse for a human being, an enemy of the gay community?? What else are you going to call me? It’s sad that there are people who think that lack of monetary leverage and social influence automatically places millions of working Americans into the “undesirable” category.

  • jeff4justice

    @Vartan X.: Amen again.

    How does LGBT Inc show it cares for the poor? With rich group leaders making 6-figures salaries who have an incentive to work slow so they can rake in the cash right? Now they can ward Wal-Mart an award just like they do the evil banks and Goldman Sachs types.

    Sure there’s a few LGBT teen homeless shelters but they’re usually limited to big cities where teens flee thinking they’ll find some magical accepting community. Online search “gay mentors for youth” and you may find a few local programs here and there but online search “gay sugar daddy” and you’ll find tons of websites.

    Regarding the everyday gay in poverty – where’s the employment programs such as job search carpools or donations of clothing or gas cards to job seekers? Nah – there’s limited computer access and some job boards at some of the bigger centers but that’s about it.

    And god help our poor LGBT brothers and sisters stuck in rural/suburb areas or in 3rd world areas.

    You’re right. So-called liberals and conservatives preach a lot of self-righteous lip service about helping the poor but ask them to go out and do some homeless outreach or to adopt 1 person in poverty until they become self-sufficient and see how many sit it out.

    Gay Inc groups and media are pathetically devoted to the Democrat half of the failed 2-party system charade while deliberately ignoring alternative party options. Funny how we can progress equality so much in 10 years yet we can’t build up a real progressive alternative party despite congress having the lowest approval ratings ever, despite the post Occupy & Tea Party eras, and despite being in the internet age… well, yes we can.

    But just as homophobes are on the wrong side of history Gay Inc will be shown to be on the wrong side of history by clinging to the 2-party system narrative that has brought half of the US into poverty.

  • jeff4justice

    @longpastdue: How does the US have a “free market economy” – it doesn’t. It has a system of political bribery. What’s “free market” about crony capitalism, monopoly, NAFTA/GATT, taxation, in-effect force to use the fictitious dollar, “intellectual property,” attacks on agorism, clogging up courts to sue businesses into bankruptcy, bailouts, tax write off for business charity (aka PR stunts), occupational licensing, mandatory insurance, and on and on?

    By your logical all companies should be allowed to agree to pay their employees $1 an hour. Low wages hinder spending and foster government program reliance.

    When the garment factory in Bangladesh crumbled, did you smile and think to yourself “Go free market and deregulation!”

    Like religion, government and market are fear-based systems of control. if we’re not killed by WW3 or free-market Fukishima radiation then soon enough Americans will have to figure out how to adapt to most manufacturing existing overseas to slave laborers, the increase in robot work, and the increase in tech rending many products and companies useless (3D printing comes to mind).

    There’s no such thing as free market in the US.

  • 1EqualityUSA

    jeff4justice, My spouse and I do help in many ways. As for, “finding some magical community,” we even supported a friend on and off for years, and then completely for 2 years, until graduation day and another 8 months beyond that until a job was secured. Now we are being paid back, slowly, every 2 weeks, with no interest. Don’t paint the entire gay community with such a broad brush. We mentored and became family to this youngster, who went from a run-away to six figure salary. Honesty, consistency, and a light guidance style works wonders.
    Supporting Democrats has our marriage being recognized by the Federal Government. I am grateful for the support of equality by the Democratic party, even though it was painfully slow in coming and had more to do with political expediency. Naivety would have me believing it was anything else, but political expediency. I’m grateful for the progress we’ve made, but know, too, that until all of us are equal, none of us are equal. Equality from Coast to Coast!
    Vartan X, Good luck with your endeavors. Please tell me that you pronounce, “Publix” as “puberty” is pronounced. It’s a fun name. My spouse and I would so call it that. You are not in an “undesirable category” for shopping at Walmart. The reason for my avoiding shopping there is due to there business practices and how they have treated women in the past.

  • 1EqualityUSA

    “their”…black coffee…kick in. I must mobilize, as dawn is breaking. Good luck to you Vartan X.

  • jeff4justice

    @1EqualityUSA: I’ve been an on-the-ground activist for LGBT equality and other social justice issues and I know first-hand the prevailing indifference to homelessness, poverty, and human suffering. There are certainly many great people of character who do great things to help people but it appears to be the minority. Half of this nation being in poverty is a proof. The scores of homeless on the streets of every major US city prove this. I have footage of SF Pride where numerous people are walking by and over decrepit homeless people and totally indifferent ( The tent cities of homeless people including families is proof. The willingness to buy products from companies that must install suicide nets or cheap clothing from crumbling buildings in places like Bangladesh is proof.

    Not only will I paint the LGBT community with this brush but most of America.

    While I am emphatic to supporting Democrats because most of them support equality (after much resistance from “too fast, too soon” Dianne Feinstein types), this is hardly adequate compensation for the continuation of lie-based wars, NDAA, the NSA total surveillance society, the continued persecution of marijuana users (especially medical marijuana dispensary raids), the failures to be proactive in assessing the damage caused by Fukishima, being pro-GMO, and the countless ways the Democrats have become more and more assimilated to Republican ideas.

    But it’s not just the LGBT groups. Most of the 501c3 and 501c4 “nonprofit” directors of other supposedly progressive causes (the phony antiwar movement for example) are also devoted to the Democrat party half of the 2-party system charade. And why not? When your coproatly sponsored 6-figure salary earning EDs make that much money what’s the rush for progress? Now smile and take another trendy NOH8 photo.

    If it’s any consolation the wannabe religious supremacist homophobes that back the Republican party are also hopelessly devoted to that half of the 2-party system charade.

    Tell me this? How are any LGBT groups that ignore real progressive alternative political parties to be “pragmatic” or “realist” or “strategic” any different than the LGBTs and allies who insisted on settling for domestic partnerships and civil unions?

  • jeff4justice

    @jeff4justice: When writing, “I’ve been an on-the-ground activist for LGBT equality and other social justice issues, “I meant to include “for over a decade.”

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