Washington The number of U.S. employers offering health insurance benefits to same-sex domestic partners rose by 16 percent last year, according to a study released Friday by the nation's largest gay and lesbian organization.
The annual report also found a sharp increase in the number of local governments that passed laws in 2002 barring workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation employees.
At least 806 employers of all sizes expanded their health benefits in 2002 to include same-sex partners. A total of 5,698 employers offered health benefits to same-sex partners by the end of last year, according to the study by the Human Rights Campaign Foundation.
The number of Fortune 500 firms offering domestic partner benefits to same-sex couples grew by 13 percent for a total of 169 at year's end. ChevronTexaco Corp., Sears, Roebuck and Co., and Procter & Gamble were among the companies that introduced the benefits.