General Motors is extending to married same-sex employees the same health care insurance it offers to married opposite-sex employees.
Married same-sex GM workers can now add spouses to their health care plans at any time "within one year from their date of marriage or during the next annual enrollment period with proof of a valid, legal marriage license," GM said today in a statement.
Ford Motor Co. and Chrysler Group also provide employees domestic partner benefits, according to the Human Rights Campaign Foundation's Corporate Equality Index 2013.
GM said the decision, which was made official on Oct. 30, does not change the benefit plan and policy rules covering same-sex domestic partners, which have been in place since the turn of the century. Before the changes, employees had to sign an affidavit proving that they share, among other things, finances and residency, GM spokeswoman Lynda Messina wrote in an e-mail Thursday.
The new policy also does not affect other items, such as life insurance beneficiary designations, the company said.
GM's policy change, which recognizes same-sex marriages regardless of the state of residence, allows lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender employees to buy health care insurance for their partners without being hit by a tax penalty. Pension and savings plans are also included.
The Huffington Post reported the story Wednesday.
The modification was made as Congress considers new laws designed to prevent workplace discrimination. The U.S. Senate today passed a measure outlawing workplace discrimination against LGBT employees in a 64-32 vote, The Wall Street Journal reported.
The bill would bar government agencies, unions and private employers with more than 15 employees from making employment decisions based on sexual orientation or identity. Churches and religiously affiliated organizations such as charities and hospitals are exempt from the law, the newspaper said.
Thirteen states and the District of Columbia allow same-sex marriages. Michigan is one of 35 states that ban same-sex marriage by statute.
Meanwhile, the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the Defense of Marriage Act in June. The law denied same-sex couples federal benefits available to heterosexual couples.