In a 35 percent increase over last year, 8.2 percent of ExxonMobil shareholders voted in favor of adding sexual orientation to the corporation’s non-discrimination policy, the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force (NGLTF) reported Thursday. The vote follows the company’s shocking December decision to remove sexual orientation from its equal employment opportunity policy. When Exxon merged with Mobil Corp., the new company also to extend Mobil’s domestic partner benefits to ExxonMobil employees. The decision garnered angry letters, calls, and faxes, and eventually led to last week’s measure to vote on adding sexual orientation to ExxonMobil’s policy.
Proponents of the reworded policy called Thursday’s vote a success, despite the fact that the non-discrimination policy still excludes sexual orientation. “The vote shows shareholders with millions of dollars of ExxonMobil stock are concerned about ExxonMobil’s substandard equal employment opportunity policies,” said Diane Bratcher, chair of the Equality Project, a coalition of lesbian and gay shareholders. ExxonMobil’s competitors, including Sunoco and Shell, have policies that protect their gay and lesbian employees from discrimination.