GM to recognize same-sex marriage image

General Motors will now allow gay and lesbian employees to buy health care insurance for their partners without incurring a tax penalty of up to $1,000.

This is a step from the Nr. 1 US automaker to make GM more attractive to professionals who often receive job offers from technology companies where same-sex partners have competitive benefits.

“GM will recognize a legal marriage for U.S. employees no matter the state of residence,” the automaker said in a statement. “For example, if a GM employee residing in Michigan, where same-sex marriage is not recognized, got married in New York, GM would recognize that marriage.”

GM also changed its policies to allow same-sex partners of GM employees to inherit their spouse’s pension when they die. The policy changes, which follow similar moves by Chrysler, were made possible after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the Defense of Marriage Act in June.

“Because marriage is considered a ‘life event,’ U.S. hourly and salaried employees can add their spouse to their health care coverage at any time within one year from their date of marriage or during the next annual enrollment period with proof of a valid, legal marriage license,” GM said in a statement.

Before the company’s new policy, GM workers could already receive benefits for their same-sex partner as long as they signed an affidavit certifying that they live with their partner, share financial resources and meet other criteria, spokesman Joe LaMuraglia said. Now they only need to show their marriage license from one of the 13 states, or the District of Columbia, that recognize same-sex marriage.