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 New Wal-Mart policies acknowledge gay unions

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LITTLE ROCK, Ark. - Wal-Mart Stores Inc. is expanding the definition of "immediate family" in its employee-ethics policy to account for laws in states that recognize domestic partnerships and civil unions.

The change drew quick praise from a major gay-rights lobbying organization.

The revised policy, which was disclosed Wednesday in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission recognizes that in some states "immediate family" includes an employee's same-sex partner.

The revisions deal with sections of the company's ethics code that bar employees from using confidential information to benefit themselves or immediate family members and from approaching Wal-Mart's suppliers about jobs for immediate family members, the company said Thursday.

Wal-Mart spokesman Gus Whitcomb declined to say whether the change would affect benefits for employees of the nation's largest employer or whether the revision meant the company was taking a position on same-sex marriage or civil unions.


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