Major Corporations Call for DOMA Repeal

The Human Rights Campaign has announced the formation of a new business coalition that is calling for the repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act. Interestingly, the list of companies includes Marriott, which is owned by Mormons who have long supported the Republican party (in fact, Mitt Romney is on their board of directors).

The new Business Coalition for DOMA Repeal is throwing its support behind the Respect for Marriage Act, which repeals DOMA and recognizes all legal marriages for federal purposes. The Respect for Marriage Act has attracted bipartisan support. Republican Reps. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Richard Hanna (R-NY), and Charles Bass (R-NH) were among those supporting the bill in the last Congress. Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-NY) and Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) have sponsored the legislation in the House and Senate, and are likely to reintroduce it in the current Congress next month.

“Marriott was founded on the principle of putting its people first, and that includes our LGBT associates,” said David Rodriguez, executive vice president and chief human resources officer at Marriott International. “We are proud of our longstanding commitment to diversity, inclusion and equal treatment of all our employees within our benefits programs. Joining the Business Coalition for DOMA Repeal affirms that commitment, and we urge Congress to pass this important legislation.”

Joining Marriott as members of the Business Coalition for DOMA Repeal are: A|X Armani Exchange, Aetna Inc., Biogen Idec, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Diageo North America, eBay Inc., Electronic Arts, Kimpton Hotel & Restaurant Group LLC, Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company, Replacements, Ltd., Sun Life Financial U.S., and Thomson Reuters. Aside from being fundamentally unfair to married same-sex couples, DOMA also causes administrative headaches and tax inequities for companies as they simply try to treat their employees fairly. The coalition continues to grow as more companies take a stand and affirm that DOMA is bad for business.

The business community has long been way ahead of the government when it comes to supporting LGBT equality. While the federal government still does not prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender expression or identity, hundreds of corporations do so.

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  • Good for Marriott! I work in a Marriott-owned office building and eat in their cafeteria every day. Very good.

  • Pah! Typical pro-Free Market Liberals, having your Job Creator thugs forcing gay so-called “marriage” down Small Government’s throat! That’s Socialism!*


    * SOCIALISM!!!

  • baal

    Big Corps who do not support worker level social interest groups score poorly on “best places to work” surveys and employee morale. Turns out that if you make it easy for the LGBT workers to have a speaker a year and the occasional meeting room, they like you more. Folks who aren’t interested don’t show up and are rarely impacted by this kind of inexpensive morale boosting.

    When, however, something like DOMA crops up, the social interest groups do exert soft power on the upper management (who are often also attendees of the social groups). Else, the group gets unhappy and things like the “best places to work” ratings suffer.

    Also shocking, having a reputation as a good place to work also helps big corps attract and retain top talent; another concern for Big Corps.

    A similar dynamic should be at work in the population at large with politicians and communities mirroring upper management and the corporations. It doesn’t work out that way, however, due largely to religious folks claiming that they are impacted by the equivalent morale boosting (a lie) and the impact of rich bigots on elections.

  • The Lorax

    Hey, I’ve done some work for Biogen! Nifty!

    So yeah, I guess tolerance is good for business. Who knew.

  • jba55

    I find Marriott being on the right side of this pretty surprising, although I’m definitely pleased. The LDS church is really not a fan of LGBT rights and apparently there’s been some preaching about what a sin it is lately. I have a friend who is LDS and I was surprised to find out she’s against gay marriage now since the last time we talked about it she was for it.

  • robertfaber

    Marriott doesn’t surprise me at all. The hospitality and tourism field has a very large gay contingent within it, and if you’re in that business, you deal with LBGT issues daily.

  • Rodney Nelson


    The LDS church is really not a fan of LGBT rights and apparently there’s been some preaching about what a sin it is lately.

    Boyd Packer, who’s the chief apostle (essentially #4 in the LDS hierarchy), is a raging homophobe. He’s the one pushing most Mormon anti-LGBT efforts. Since he’s “inspired by god” what he says is almost literally gospel as far as the rank and file Mormons are concerned.

  • Trebuchet

    Meanwhile, another large company, my former employer, is refusing to extend spousal retirement benefits to same-sex employees despite approval of gay marriage in this state where they have a huge presence. This is, of course, justified and apparently even legal because of DOMA. Shame on you, Boeing.

  • fastlane

    Actually, Treb, Boeing has walked that back and, in the face of overwhelmingly negative PR, decided to extend full benefits to same sex partners. It took bad PR, and a fair amount of pressure through the union to do it. Those evil, evil unions.

  • fastlane

    See the Jan 25th update:

  • Trebuchet

    Thanks for that, Fastlane! I’m a retired member of that union, BTW, and walked the line in 2000.

    Sure would be nice if the company would just once do the right thing BECAUSE it’s the right thing, and not just because of union pressure and adverse publicity.

  • abb3w

    The conservative movement appears to have four major factions: Theocons, Jingocons, Moneycons, and Xenocons. (Those four overlap some. There’s also a RINO faction; mostly young people raised Republican, who vote Republican because that’s what good people do, and who haven’t realized the Democrats fit their personal values a hell of a lot better.) The heart of the opposition to gay marriage is among the Theocons; this news suggests that on this issue, the Moneycons are starting to defect. The Moneycons also appear to be pulling away on the question of the debt ceiling and on immigration reform, and may even be resigning themselves on Obamacare.

    It looks like one of the sheets on the GOP “big tent” is now flapping pretty loose.

    The Theocons seem likely the last to shift on this, for “God Wills It!” The Xenocons seem also likely to hold out, since though they’re traditionally more frightened of little brown people, gays also make them nervous. I expect the Jingocons will come around next, as the military increasingly fails to give a damn about including gays, and as it will give them another excuse for meddling overseas. Maybe by 2016, more likely circa 2020.