Give Health Care to Same-Sex Spouse of Walmart Employee


Target: President and CEO of Walmart Stores Inc. Douglas McMillon

Goal: Give health insurance coverage to all spouses of Walmart employees without discriminating based on gender.

A former employee of the Walmart store in Swansea, Massachusetts was repeatedly denied health insurance for her wife despite their entrance into a state-recognized marriage in 2004. For four years, Jacqueline Cote tried to get health insurance for her spouse alongside all other employees, but was never able to proceed further in the online process when she listed her spouse as “female.” After investigating further in person with the offices, they told her that Walmart did not insure same-sex couples.

Jacqueline’s wife Diana was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2012, and has since gathered over $150,000 in uninsured medical debt. Walmart’s insurance coverage would have saved them most if not all of this payment, but because of their refusal Diana now must rely on facility care in declining condition. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act protects against sexual discrimination in the workplace and by employers, and because this exclusion is solely based on the gender of the spouse, this policy is in direct violation of this act. Tell the President of Walmart to change their policy to cover the spouses of all employees, no matter what their gender or orientation.


Dear Douglas McMillon,

As an ally or member of the LGBTQ community, I am very disappointed in your policy that specifically excludes same-sex spouses from receiving insurance coverage alongside your employees. This policy is not only offensive in its clear discrimination against same-sex marriages, but it is also harmful to the spouses of your employees who may rely on their husbands’ or wives’ insurance in case of emergencies. This happened to be the case for Diana Smithson, who was married to your employee Jacqueline Cote when she was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2012.

Since Diana’s diagnosis, she and her wife have racked up over $150,000 in medical expenses and Diana has been forced into facility care because of her debt. Jacqueline had no idea about the same-sex exclusion until she attempted to file for spousal insurance online and was not allowed further after listing her spouse as “female.” She was never informed about the policy until she directly confronted the offices herself. I ask that in order to preserve the morality and family value of your company you change your policy to include all employee spouses under company insurance.


[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: Franz Clemens

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