From yahoo news, Wal-Mart expandes definition of Immediate Family.
For the purposes of employee ethics, the biggest retail chain in the world expanded the definition to include same-sex partners. But haven’t revealed whether it includes benefits coverage.
My current employer already does that, which is quite gratifying, considering we are as global and on the same sort of scale as Wal-Mart (though employing a different type of employees, not so many casual workers).
An immediate family member, or a “qualified adult” is covered for benefits provided certain conditions are met and the employee makes a declaration. This includes living together at least one year and have demonstrable means of showing an exclusive relationship such as joint account and mortgage. It’s very fair, and the language of the policy doesn’t make any reference to gender, so it applies to both same- and different-sex relationships.