UnitedHealth: We do not support SB632/HB600 in Tennessee

I’m beginning to wonder just who did support this legislation, since the Tennessee Chamber of Commerce very much supported the legislation and very much lobbied for it.  And UnitedHealth is on the chamber’s board.  I’ve never seen so many board members so allegedly clueless about their own organization is doing. Here’s UnitedHealth’s statement:

UnitedHealth Group Statement on Workplace Equality

UnitedHealth Group believes in recruiting and retaining a workforce that mirrors the multicultural communities we serve. A mix of different backgrounds and perspectives helps us develop strong products and programs our customers need. As part of that commitment, UnitedHealth Group supports and offers domestic partner benefits. We did not lobby for nor support Tennessee SB632/HB600.

It is important to note that, as part of its standard benefit design, all UnitedHealthcare health insurance plans include coverage for domestic partners.

In addition, UnitedHealth Group is gratified to have received the highest rating, 100 points, on the 2011 Corporate Equality Index. Launched in 2002, the Human Rights Campaign Foundation’s Corporate Equality Index became a roadmap and benchmarking tool for U.S. businesses in the evolving field of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality in the workplace.

To their credit, UnitedHealth says they don’t support the legislation. To date, only Alcoa has been that explicit (though Alcoa called for a veto – no one else has.)

The problem is that even though UnitedHealth denies supporting this legislation, they’re on the board of the chamber of commerce, and that chamber, that they oversee via the board, did lobby for the bill. If I were on the board of an organization that tried to repeal the 64 Civil Rights Act, for example, I have a feeling ignorance wouldn’t be much of a defense.

But let’s take UnitedHealth at its word. Let’s say they’re super duper pro-gay and pro-trans. Let’s say they regret this legislation heading to the governor for his signature.

Great. So what has UnitedHealth done to help ensure the governor vetoes this legislation?  Here’s what you can do – join the over 8,000 people who have signed the open letter to these companies demanding they push for a veto.

I’ve also set up a Facebook page for this campaign – please head over and “like” it, and forward it to your friends.  Thanks.


Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Google+ | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown (1989); and worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, and as a stringer for the Economist. Frequent TV pundit: O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline & Reliable Sources. Bio, .

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