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Five Nightmare Scenarios the Hobby Lobby Decision Could Bring About

Sunday, July 6th, 2014

Hobby Lobby

When the Supreme Court hands the LGBT community a victory, it’s hard to hide it. After all, allowing states to legalize marriage is not something you can sneak by the nation. But when the Supreme Court unleashes a nightmare, it’s not easy spot. But that’s exactly what the court did this week in a ruling that has the potential to wreak havoc on everything from marriage equality to HIV treatments.

The case involved the craft-store chain Hobby Lobby. The store had sued the federal government because it did not want to provide contraceptives to employees, as mandated under the Affordable Care Act. Hobby Lobby objected on religious grounds, arguing that corporations have the same right to religious expression as individuals.

The Supreme Court agreed. In his majority decision, Justice Samuel Alito took pains to insist that the ruling applied only to “closely-held” corporations and even more specifically was “concerned solely with the contraceptive mandate.”

Don’t you believe it.

Authored By John Gallagher – See the Full Story at Queerty

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Silicon Valley’s Prop 8 Donations By Company

Saturday, April 5th, 2014

Nate Silver Silicon Valley Prop 8 Graph

In the wake of Mozilla CEO Brandon Eich’s departure, gay uber statistician Nate Silver breaks down how Silicon Valley donated its money in the Prop 8 initiative race. Note: This is only a breakdown of the individuals who donated to either side of the Prop 8 initiative in Silicon Valley and who noted their company, not how the companies themselves donated.

Joe.My.God reports:

The list includes Hewlett-Packard, Intel, Cisco Systems, Apple, Google, Sun Microsystems, eBay, Oracle, Yahoo, Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) and Symantec. I limited the search to donors who listed California as their location. In total between these 11 companies, 83 percent of employee donations were in opposition to Proposition 8. So Eich was in a 17 percent minority relative to the top companies in Silicon Valley. However, there was quite a bit of variation from business to business. At Intel, 60 percent of employee donations were in support of Proposition 8. By contrast, at Apple, 94 percent of employee donations were made in opposition to Proposition 8. The opposition was even higher at Google, where 96 percent of employee donations were against it, including $100,000 from co-founder Sergey Brin. There isn’t much data on Mozilla. Only four Proposition 8 donors listed it as their employer: Eich, who donated in support of the measure, and three others who opposed it.

It’s interesting to see the different corporate cultures reflected in these donation patterns.

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Which Corporations Aren’t Getting on the Marriage Equality Bandwagon?

Friday, March 29th, 2013

Urban OutfittersWhich corporations support marriage equality, and which ones are content to sit on the sidelines? Tumblr is forcing the issue. Queerty reports:

Others have remained silent on the issue, but a new Tumblr is forcing companies out of the closet. Brand Equality features dozens of brand logos stylized with the Human Rights Campaign’s red equal sign — giving the assumption that they support marriage equality. Brands have the option to say nothing and let the assumption ride; confirm their support; or request that their logo be removed, implying that they do not support marriage equality… these four brands asked to have their logos removed. Brand Equality has replaced their original comments (below) with the more equitable — “So, do these brands want to be removed? Or to replace the image sent in with a ‘neutral’ stance? Just let us know. This is all about transparency.”

So far, they include Exxon, Urban Outfitters, Walmart, and (of course) Chick-fil-A.

Why Are Corporations Backing Marriage Equality? It’s a Business Issue

Monday, March 4th, 2013

Goldman Sachs LogoThe The New York Times has a great piece on why so many corporations are backing marriage equality. Spoiler alert – it’s good for business:

“I wouldn’t normally speak out on something like this,” Mr. Blankfein told me. “People are only interested in what I have to say because of my position at Goldman Sachs, and I don’t believe it’s appropriate for me to express my personal views as being those of the firm. But in this case, this is a business issue. We’re a people business. They’re the single most important thing to us. We have a very important gay community at the firm, including members of senior management and people on the management committee. We want to treat our people fairly and equally. This happens to coincide with my personal views, but that’s not why we’re doing this.”

But it’s only in the last few years that businesses have realized how much they stand to gain by embracing marriage equality:

Still, even a few years ago, such support would have seemed unthinkable. After Mr. Blankfein appeared in the Human Rights Campaign video, Goldman Sachs lost at least one client, a large institution with religious ties. Mr. Blankfein became the go-to chief executive on the issue, speaking at events and on panels, traveling to Minnesota last summer in advance of that state’s vote on a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage.

And, interestingly:

…as of Thursday’s deadline, no businesses had filed a brief opposing gay marriage or trying to counter the business arguments put forward in the corporate briefs.

It’s a great article – read the whole thing here:

USA: Apple, Morgan Stanley, Facebook, Intel, Others File Amicus Brief Against Prop 8

Tuesday, February 26th, 2013

US Supreme CourtDozens of major corporations are set to file an amicus brief with the Supreme Court urging it to overturn Prop 8 and make marriage equality the law of the land, Bloomberg reports:

Dozens of companies, including Apple Inc. (AAPL) and Morgan Stanley (MS), are planning to urge the U.S. Supreme Court to legalize same-sex marriage nationwide, saying bans in 41 states harm workplace morale and undermine recruiting. The group, which also includes Facebook Inc. (FB) and Intel Corp., (INTC) will make its case this week as the high court prepares to take up California’s Proposition 8, the 2008 ballot initiative that halted gay marriage after it was allowed for five months.

The brief explains:

“No matter how welcoming the corporate culture, it cannot overcome the societal stigma institutionalized by Proposition 8 and similar laws,” the companies will argue, according to a copy of the brief provided by Orrick Herrington Sutcliffe LLP, the law firm representing the group.

Another, larger group is filing a brief in the Defense of Marriage Act case:

A larger group of companies — more than 200 — is also poised to side with gay-rights advocates in a second Supreme Court case, involving a federal law that defines marriage as a heterosexual union. Under that law, known as the Defense of Marriage Act, legally married gay couples can’t claim the federal tax breaks and other benefits available to opposite-sex spouses.

The pressure mounts…

Why Do Many Corporations Embrace Marriage Equality?

Friday, November 9th, 2012

Why Do Many Corporations Embrace Marriage Equality?In the afterglow of Tuesday’s election, the term “historic turning point” for LGBT rights is hardly an overstatement. The passage of equal marriage rights by popular vote in three states, the blockage of an anti-equality constitutional amendment in a fourth (after losses in 30 other states), plus the reelection of the first president to ever publicly ally himself with same-sex marriage equality, demonstrates a dramatic shift in public attitudes.

Equally dramatic, however, and perhaps even more significant, has been the willingness of large businesses and major corporations to lend both their names and dollars toward the cause. In Washington State, in particular, a blue-chip list of high-profile companies — Starbucks, Nordstrom, Amazon, Microsoft, REI, to name just a few — took a prominent stand in support of the marriage-equality referendum. Amazon chief Jeff Bezos tossed in $2.5 million of his own toward the campaign. Bill Gates wrote a check for $100,000.

Less than 20 years ago, in 1994, Senator Edward Kennedy’s staff had a difficult time trying to convince corporate executives to testify on behalf of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), the first attempt to bar employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation at the federal level (a measure that still has not passed.) Their companies had successfully implemented internal policies that did the same; the executives were even on record saying they thought it was a good idea. But testify before Congress? No, thanks.

Authored By Ed Mickens – See the Full Story at Edge Boston

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USA: Pro Marriage Equality Stances Haven’t Hurt Companies, Investors

Friday, August 3rd, 2012

Amazon Founder Gives $2.5 Million to Marriage Equality Effort in Washington StateWhen Chick-fil-A President Dan Cathy told a reporter that he supported the “biblical definition of the marriage unit,” it was a shot heard ’round the world. In addition to the reactions from activist groups and non-activist consumers, corporations large and small have jumped into the fray by showing their support of marriage equality. But will such demonstrations hurt their bottom line?

Good politics or bad business?

Value-focused consumerism is not a new concept. Environmentally conscious consumers drove the proliferation of natural and organic products. Socially responsible investors actively search for stocks that meet their screening qualifications. A company’s policies, lobbying activities, and conservative or liberal leanings, once made public, are all fair game for customers and investors who care about such things. (And some don’t.)

In the days following the Chick-fil-A episode, (NAS: AMZN) CEO Jeff Bezos and his wife pledged $2.5 million toward the fight to legalize gay marriage in Washington state. General Mills (NYS: GIS) CEO Ken Powell has publicly stated the company is against a gay marriage ban up for vote in Minnesota, saying the ban is not in the best interests of the company’s employees or Minnesota’s economy. And Target, (NYS: TGT) , which from the earliest days has positioned itself as a community-focused chain, has launched a series of ads welcoming same-sex couples to the company’s wedding registry.

Authored By Molly McClusky – See the Full Story at Daily Finance

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Corporations Embracing Gay Rights

Saturday, July 7th, 2012

Corporations and Gay RightsThe sordid past of anti-gay stances for national corporations is slowly fading away as major corporations are finding the position supporting gay marriage more favorable than it was.

Companies like Microsoft, Starbucks, Boeing, Google, Nike, Time Warner Cable, Xerox, etc. have adopted official stances in support of equal rights legislation. They each made claims in the lawsuit challenging the Defense of Marriage Act, where 48 companies signed a brief arguing against the law, claiming it negatively affected their businesses.

These companies claimed that DOMA, defining marriage as the legal union of one man and one woman, is both expensive to comply with and forces businesses to treat their employees (gay and straight) differently.

Full Story from Dot429

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Marriage Equality Advocates Gain Corporate Allies

Sunday, June 3rd, 2012

Corporations and Marriage EqualityGay marriage advocates have a new and powerful ally in corporate America. One by one, national corporations like Microsoft, Starbucks, Boeing and Google are wading into the once-risky business of taking a position supporting gay marriage in states across the country.

Nowhere is that more apparent than in the lawsuit challenging the Defense of Marriage Act, which a federal appeals court called unconstitutional on Thursday. Forty-eight companies, including Nike, Time Warner Cable, Aetna, Exelon Corp., and Xerox had signed a brief arguing that the law negatively affected their businesses.

But the real test will come in November, when voters in four states — Maryland, Minnesota, Maine and Washington — will head to the polls. To date, gay marriage advocates have yet to win a statewide ballot initiative but hope corporate support and money will help turn the tide.

Full Story from Politico

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Indiana: Corporations Speak Out Against Gay Marriage Ban

Thursday, March 17th, 2011

Executives from two of Indiana’s most prominent companies told a state Senate committee Wednesday that their ability to recruit top employees could be hurt by a proposed constitutional amendment that would ban gay marriage and civil unions.

Supporters countered by telling the Senate Judiciary Committee that the amendment would not restrict employers from offering insurance or other benefits to same-sex partners as some already do, even though current state law defines marriage as between one man and one woman.

The committee heard more than two hours of public testimony, but delayed a vote on whether to send the proposed amendment to the full Senate until next week.

Full Story from

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