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Florida-based supermarket chain to offer benefits to married, same-sex couples

Florida-based supermarket chain to offer benefits to married, same-sex couples

LAKELAND, Fla. — Supermarket chain Publix has announced to employees that legally married same-sex couples will now be eligible for group health and other insurance benefits.

publixThe Miami Herald reports that the memo to employees comes just days before same-sex marriage is due to become legal in Florida, and that the new policy will also apply to married same-sex couples regardless of state the out-of-state.

“Beginning Jan. 1, 2015, Publix is expanding spouse coverage for its health, dental and vision benefit plans to associates who are married in any state where same-sex marriages are legal, regardless of the associates’ state of residence,” reads an internal memo from the supermarket company’s corporate communications department.

“Publix’s benefit plans offer coverage to legal spouses, and until recently, the states in which Publix operates did not recognize same-sex marriages as legal unions,” the memo said.

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Publix, based in Lakeland, Fla., owns 1,095 grocery stores in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee.

“This is huge news,” said Nadine Smith, executive director of Equality Florida, a leading statewide LGBT-rights groups.

“Publix is an iconic brand as associated with Florida as beaches and sunshine. This step recognizes that marriage is coming and acknowledges the impossibility of maintaining separate and unequal laws in some parts of our state and nation,” said Smith.

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