Vanguard Will Vote Proxy for Sexual Orientation Nondiscrimination

Exxon Mobil, others to be impacted by change in policy

Dec 05, 2005, 00:00 ET from Equality Forum

    PHILADELPHIA, Dec. 5 /PRNewswire/ -- Following discussions with Equality
 Forum, a national gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender (GLBT) civil rights
 organization, The Vanguard Group has announced that it will vote in favor of
 sexual orientation workplace protection in its proxy voting rights.  Vanguard
 is the nation's second-largest mutual fund company, managing approximately
 $880 billion in assets.
     "Vanguard is the gold standard for protecting shareholder value," said
 Malcolm Lazin, Executive Director of Equality Forum.  "After discussions with
 Equality Forum, Vanguard determined that a supportive workplace for gay and
 lesbian employees helps maximize shareholder interest.  This decision will
 influence other mutual funds and positively increase proxy support for sexual
 orientation nondiscrimination protection."
     "We believe that fully inclusive employment policies may be reasonably
 expected to contribute positively to shareholder value," said Glenn Booraem,
 Principal & Assistant Fund Controller for Vanguard.
     Exxon Mobil, number two on the FORTUNE 500 list, is one of only 40 of the
 FORTUNE 500 companies that do not provide nondiscrimination protection for gay
 and lesbian employees.  With 149 million shares, Vanguard is the fourth-
 largest institutional holder of Exxon Mobil shares.
     Equality Forum's FORTUNE 500 Project, in collaboration with Professor
 Louis Thomas of the Wharton School of University of Pennsylvania and Professor
 Ian Ayres of Yale Law School, requests FORTUNE 500 companies to specifically
 include sexual orientation in their workplace nondiscrimination policies.  At
 the start of the project in 2003, 323 companies (65%) provided
 nondiscrimination protection.  Today, 460 of the FORTUNE 500 companies (92%)
 now protect gay and lesbian employees.
     Vanguard's letter stating their policy change, along with more information
 on the FORTUNE 500 Project, can be found at:
     Equality Forum is a national nonprofit and 501(c)(3) GLBT organization
 headquartered in Philadelphia. Equality Forum undertakes high impact
 initiatives, produces documentary films, highlights GLBT history and presents
 annually the largest national and international GLBT civil rights forum.

SOURCE Equality Forum