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.