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Publix offers insurance benefits to married same-sex couples

MIAMI — The Publix grocery store chain now offers employee insurance benefits to same-sex couples legally married in other states.

The Lakeland, Florida-based company told employees this week that beginning Thursday, Publix would expand coverage for its health, dental and vision benefit plans to employees married in any state where same-sex marriages are legal.

Publix owns nearly 2,000 grocery stores in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Tennessee, North Carolina and South Carolina.

The Miami Herald reports that Publix will hold a 30-day enrollment period for same-sex married employees. Their documentation must include marriage certificates and declarations about whether they or their spouses use tobacco products.

The executive director of the gay rights group Equality Florida praised the expansion of benefits by Publix amid many calls from businesses to end Florida’s ban on same-sex marriage.