Health System becomes largest Utah-based employer to offer such benefits
WASHINGTON – The Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) civil rights organization, today commended the decision of Intermountain Healthcare (IHC) to extend health care benefits to both same and opposite-sex domestic partners. With 23 hospitals in Utah and southern Idaho and 32,000 employees, IHC is the largest Utah-based employer to extend benefits granted to married couples to domestic partners. Neither the Utah state government nor the Mormon Church, the state’s two largest employers, offer such benefits. While not a formal part of the Mormon Church, IHC was established in 1975 when the Church donated its 15-hospital system to IHC to administer.
“Companies recognize that to attract top-notch talent, gay or straight, you have to offer a competitive set of benefits to all employees. While this is certainly recognition of that standard, it is also proof that positive social change is occurring in Utah,” said Joe Solmonese, president of the Human Rights Campaign. “All employees deserve to be treated equally and respectfully in the workplace.”
Fifty-seven percent of Fortune 500 companies offer healthcare benefits to same-sex domestic partners. Now in its ninth year, HRC’s Corporate Equality Index rates the workplace practices of American corporations. Corporate America continues to break new ground in workplace protections and benefits for LGBT people. Whereas government is often a lagging indicator of societal acceptance, American companies have repeatedly been on the leading edge of positive change for LGBT workers.
The announcement from IHC offers a positive counter to the recent sermon of Elder Boyd K. Packer, the second highest ranking member of the Mormon Church, in which he called same-sex attraction “impure and unnatural,” claimed that it could be corrected and characterized same-sex marriage as immoral. Following Elder Packer’s inaccurate and dangerous statements, HRC joined Affirmation: Gay & Lesbian Mormons, Equality Utah and the Utah Pride Center in condemning the statements by delivering a petition with 150,000 signatures to the church.
“It is heartening to know that an institution long associated with the Mormon Church recognizes that LGBT Utahns are an equal part of the community and that their relationships should be recognized as such,” said Solmonese.
The Human Rights Campaign is America’s largest civil rights organization working to achieve lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality. By inspiring and engaging all Americans, HRC strives to end discrimination against LGBT citizens and realize a nation that achieves fundamental fairness and equality for all.
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