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September 27, 2013

Statement Of New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli on Exxonmobil Decision to Offer Benefits to same-sex Married Couples In The United States

Today's announcement by ExxonMobil shows the tide is continuing to turn in corporate America. This is a very positive step for the LGBT community and a vindication of years of efforts by shareholders and activists across the country. This policy would not have been possible without President Obama's leadership in directing federal agencies to establish the "Place of Celebration" standard for recognition of same-sex marriages. He took a stand for human rights and the belief that everyone deserves equal treatment.

Corporate discrimination in any form is simply not good business. On behalf of those who have supported the New York State Common Retirement Fund's shareholder resolutions on this issue over these past four years, I am gratified that ExxonMobil, one of the largest corporations in the world and one of the Fund's largest holdings, will treat its employees with the dignity, equality and respect that they deserve.

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As fiduciary and trustee of the $160.7 billion New York State Common Retirement Fund, Comptroller DiNapoli has been the prime sponsor of a shareholder resolution at ExxonMobil for the past four years that called upon the company to explicitly prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

In July, DiNapoli released a letter to President Barack Obama calling on him, in light of the recent Supreme Court decision overturning the Defense of Marriage Act, to direct all federal agencies under his control to adopt a marriage "Place of Celebration" standard. This action required federal agencies and programs to recognize all valid same-sex marriages, regardless of the current residence of the same-sex spouses.

Since 2010, DiNapoli has reached over 30 agreements with portfolio companies to implement equal-employment policies that prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.

As of September 20th, the Fund owns 13,468,035 shares of Exxon valued at approximately $1.2 billion.

 

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