- (Photo: Reuters / Jessica Rinaldi)
A conservative leader of a nationwide family values group has expressed disappointment with ExxonMobil's recent decision to expand its benefit policies to include same-sex couples.
Tim Wildmon, president of the Mississippi-based American Family Association, told The Christian Post that his group was "disappointed" by the news coming from the large oil company.
"AFA has not typically concerned itself with a company's internal benefit policies. That being said, we are certainly disappointed in ExxonMobil, and their shareholders should be as well," said Wildmon.
"At the last shareholders' meeting, 81% of them voted against awarding benefits based on same-sex behavior, and no law requires them to do this."
Wildmon also told CP that the Exxon Mobil decision was "another unfortunate consequence of the Supreme Court's judicial activism in overturning DOMA."
"The court not only frustrated the will of the elected representatives of the people in overturning DOMA, they are now frustrating the will of shareholders in private companies," said Wildmon.
"There's a lot of mischief here."
The publicly-traded company made the announcement Friday that they will begin to offer couples benefits to employees who are married to someone of the same sex.
"The decision is consistent with the direction of most U.S. government agencies," said ExxonMobil in a statement.
"We have made no change in the definition of eligibility for our U.S. benefit plans. Spousal eligibility in our U.S. benefit plans has been and continues to be governed by the federal definition of marriage and spouse."
The decision on the part of ExxonMobil was considered a surprise given the oil company's longstanding controversy over not including gay employees in its antidiscrimination policies.
Freedom to Work, a pro-LGBT organization, filed suit against the oil company alleging sexual orientation discrimination.
Tico Almeida, president of Freedom to Work, said in a statement in The New York Times that this was being done because of ExxonMobil desiring to conform to the law.
"Exxon is not the kind of company that voluntarily does the right thing…They only do the right thing when the law requires them to," said Almeida.
ExxonMobil's will begin offering benefits to same-sex married couples Tuesday, which will include health insurance coverage.