by Ed Vitagliano
(AgapePress) – In less than nine years, activists have convinced more than one in five Fortune 500 companies to adopt a policy granting benefits to domestic partners of homosexual employees, and more than 20 such corporations have joined the rush this year alone.
Some 121 of the Fortune 500 have adopted or say they will be adopting domestic partner benefit policies before summer is out. In the last two years, companies like Coca-Cola, General Mills, Motorola, Pillsbury, and the Big Three automakers Ford, General Motors, and DaimlerChrysler have altered their benefit policies in order to cater to their homosexual employees.
Smaller firms have also begun boarding the ship. According to USA Today, a 1999 Mercer/Foster Higgins National Survey of employer-sponsored health plans found that 16% of businesses with between 10 and 499 workers had granted benefits to the domestic partners of their homosexual employees. In 1996 the number was only 10%.
Kim Mills, education director for the homosexual activist group Human Rights Campaign (HRC), said the number of companies adding domestic partner benefits has begun to snowball. Mills told Reuters that when HRC began monitoring corporate policies in 1995, about one employer a week was added to the number of companies making the change. Now, she said, ten employers a week are changing their benefit package to include the live-in lovers of homosexual employees.
Companies which have adopted domestic partner benefits often say they have done so because the tight labor market requires them to compete for the best workers possible, and offering such benefit incentives is one way to do that. [Faithful Catholics], however, argue from a more philosophical position, complaining that granting benefits that have traditionally been reserved for married couples elevates same-sex couples to the level of a once-sacred institution.
“A growing number of corporations have lost their moral bearings, and now consider two men shacking up together to be the same as a man and woman joined in holy matrimony,” said AFA president Donald Wildmon. “It's disgraceful, and it's simply one more sign that our nation is walking away from the institutions of marriage and family.”
(This update courtesy of Agape Press.)
Religion Reporter Translates Between Media and Religious Life
by Robin Burchfield
(AgapePress) – The nation's first network religion correspondent says many of the most important issues affecting people today are moral and religious issues.
In 1994, Peggy Wehmeyer joined ABC News, becoming the first correspondent to report for a network on religious and spiritual issues. Speaking recently to Samford University journalism students in Birmingham, Alabama, Wehmeyer said she felt then that television was out of touch with the people they were covering. She says her job has been to translate the culture of network media and the culture of American religious life.
Wehmeyer said it is a well-known fact that religion affects how people cope with major decisions and life circumstances. Citing an example, she pointed out that studies show people with religious faith live longer. She said, “If we are to become creative journalists, we must find creative ways to tell the way religion plays a role in people's lives.”
In addition, she said she believes the influence of religious people is not so much a matter of their number as their being in places of influence. She also said “Churches should be paying attention to the balance of religion in places of influence.”
ABC remains the only network in America with a full-time religion beat.