More Than Half of Americans Think Employers Should Offer Benefits to Same-Sex Partners

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Raleigh, NC, June 26, 2013 – With a Supreme Court ruling on the Defense of Marriage Act expected any day now, millions of gay and lesbian Americans await a decision that will greatly affect their personal lives. But what about their work lives? A new poll, commissioned by employee effectiveness and work-life services provider Workplace Options, takes a look at current attitudes toward gay and lesbian people in the workplace.

The poll revealed that 54 percent of respondents believe that employers should offer health insurance to same-sex partners or spouses. Still, just 26 percent of respondents said their company offers health insurance to same-sex partners; 38 percent said it does not; and 36 percent were not sure.

“Most Americans believe employers should provide health insurance for same-sex partners, but only a small percentage of people polled said that their employers offer it,” said Dean Debnam, chief executive officer of Workplace Options. “With things like the Affordable Care Act and a DOMA ruling on the horizon, now is a good time for companies to reevaluate their benefit offerings and make sure that employees understand them.”

The poll results also showed:

  • 47 percent support same-sex marriage, with 42 percent opposed and 11 percent unsure.
  • 28 percent said that their feelings about same-sex marriage have changed over time.
  • 51 percent said their workplaces have an anti-discrimination policy that includes gay and lesbian people.
  • 37 percent of respondents do not believe they have any gay or lesbian co-workers.
  • 60 percent think that the culture of their work environment is supportive of gays and lesbians.

“Regardless of the DOMA ruling, employers are going to have to start thinking more about what kind of culture they create for everyone, including gay and lesbian employees,” said Debnam. “This poll shows that many US workers support same-sex marriage and the benefits that come along with it. If employers want to attract and keep employees, they should create a work environment where everyone feels accepted.”

The national poll was conducted by the North Carolina firm of Public Policy Polling, June 21-23, 2013. The survey polled 519 working Americans and has a margin of error of +/- 4.3%. View complete poll results here.

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