For those of you that missed it this past week, Nordstrom adds their name to the growing list of businesses that have spoken out in favor of marriage equality:
With respect to our gay and lesbian employees, Nordstrom was an early adopter of adding sexual orientation to our anti-discrimination policy, which means we guarantee the same legal rights and protections in our workplace to gay and lesbian employees just as we do for other employees regardless of sex, race, color, creed, national origin, religion, age, marital status, pregnancy, physical, mental or sensory disability, and gender identity.
We feel the next step in this journey is to now support freedom to marry, also called marriage equality. There is a lot of awareness of this issue across the country and we’ve heard from many employees and customers. We gave this thoughtful consideration and felt the time was right to come out in support of this civil rights issue. It is our belief that our gay and lesbian employees are entitled to the same rights and protections marriage provides under the law as our other employees.
Blake Nordstrom, President, Nordstrom, Inc
Pete Nordstrom, President of Merchandising, Nordstrom
Erik Nordstrom, President of Stores, Nordstrom
To read the complete letter and to see GLAAD’s coverage, check out GLAAD’s blog.
Nordstrom joins the likes of Starbucks, Google, Amazon.com, Microsoft, T-Mobile, REI, Nike and many other Washington businesses that support marriage equality.
Yet another company has come out in support of marriage equality in Washington state! Outdoor retailer, REI, announced their support through a blog post to the company’s 11,000 employees. CEO and President Sally Jewell had this to share:
Marriage equality is important to the co-op because the benefits, legal clarity and societal understanding that Warren and I have enjoyed these past 34 years should be available to any two people who want to express their love and make a permanent commitment to each other that is so clearly provided for in the legal definition of marriage.
REI joins the likes of Amazon, Starbucks, Microsoft and other companies with a large presence in Washington state that have come out in favor of marriage equality.
Hey Minnesota CEOs, I think it may be time…
An article from USA Today that talks about Amazon’s founder, Jeff Bezos, and his commitment to donate $2.5 million dollars to Washington United for Marriage to help defeat Washington State’s marriage amendment.
The article references other companies standing for marriage equality, including Microsoft, General Mills and JC Penney, and compares them to the recent media flurry surrounding Chick-fil-A.
An interesting read on big business and their role in these debates.
I’ve talked about Minnesota businesses a couple of times in this blog. As we get closer to the amendment, I plan to share what we know about Minnesota’s Fortune 500 companies and where they stand when it comes to the amendment.
My purpose certainly isn’t to shame any organization into supporting the amendment or creating state-wide boycotts. Instead, my hope is that if we educate same-sex advocates on where companies stand, we can help influence the views of leaders in these organizations.
For example, Gregg Steinhafel shared in June of 2011 that Target would remain neutral on the marriage amendment:
Our position at this particular time is that we are going to be neutral on that particular issue, as we would be on other social issues that have polarizing points of view…
We have a broad team-member base, every shape and size and color. And so we are a very inclusive organization….We’re going to continue to monitor, we’re going to continue to assess, and see how that develops.
I completely understand where he is coming from. Target took a lot of heat in 2010 (some argue it was appropriate, others argue it was not) in regards to the Minnesota Forward donation. If I were in Mr. Steinhafel’s shoes, I would probably think twice about taking a stand one way or another on this issue, too. However, the CEO of Target has friends, neighbors and colleagues that are gay, or have sons and daughters that are gay, etc.. If we can connect on that personal level, we can influence decisions.
And it’s not just Target’s CEO. Brian Dunn, former CEO Best Buy had also remained quiet. The list goes on (refer to my previous post to see where other companies stand on this issue).
Of course, we do know that there have been leaders that have come out in firm opposition of this mean-spirited amendment, too. Marilyn Carlson Nelson received probably the most attention when she shared her views.
Important note: Just because an organization hasn’t taken a public stance of opposition against the amendment, doesn’t mean they are “anti-gay.” Quite the contrary. We’re fortunate to have one of the largest Pride celebrations in the country that is supported by companies like Target and Best Buy. Internally, Target, Best Buy and others have employee resource groups, provide team members extensive benefits and are advocates for diversity and inclusion. Our role is to help these organizations, and their leaders, understand the far-reaching impacts of this mean-spirited amendment. As we get closer to the amendment vote, I’m hopeful that we will see more of the Fortune 500 companies located here come out in support of marriage equality like Amazon.com did back in February.
Author’s note: Target team member involved with Target’s LGBTA Business Council.
A couple days ago, I posted about how many of Minnesota’s big companies are not taking a stand on marriage. Not so with our friends at Amazon.com! Amazon has joined other large companies in the Northwest in support of marriage equality inWashington.
Amazon is joining other Pacific Northwest companies, including Microsoft, Starbucks and Nike, in support of Washington state’s marriage equality bills… The spirit of these bills is consistent with our longstanding employment practices.
Guess it’s time to renew my Prime shipping! :)