Protecting Families Is Good Business

Did you read our op-ed in Monday’s Richmond Times-Dispatch supporting marriage equality for all Americans?    We shared the page with the Family Foundation and we know we don’t share the same views on a few things, but Ms. Cobb argued against protecting sexual orientation in our hiring practices.   She claims that our equality deficiency actually doesn’t make Virginia an unattractive place for new business citing this new “report” from the National Organization for Marriage. That brief titled “Is Gay Marriage Good for the Economy” makes an outlandish correlation between states with full marriage equality and their underperformance in job growth, employment, and business rankings.  Yes, Virginia is known as a business leader, but our campaign to end workplace discrimination focuses on protecting state and public employees to catch our government up with the private sector.  Most Fortune 500 companies and the majority of Virginia’s top 25 private employers have already adopted workplace practices inclusive of sexual orientation and gender identity or expression.  Protecting employees from discrimination makes economic sense – it’s good for recruiting and retaining top talent. Moreover, America’s largest companies like Apple, Google, and Starbucks not only have had longstanding inclusive practices, but support marriage equality.  They’re bringing profits to their own companies while putting jobs and growth in local economies, right?    In 2010, Google even began compensating their coupled LGBT employees for the added tax burden the Defense of Marriage Act creates. Just last month, nearly 300 companies filed a brief against DOMA. Illinois, which has marriage equality on its legislative docket right now, has major companies backing the measure.  The Williams Institute adds marriage equality will generate $103 million in spending for the state and local economy over the course of three years.  Their estimates are based on increases seen in wedding spending, tourism expenditures made by out-of-town guests, and sales tax revenues.  Read their full report. Protecting LGBT citizens and providing the economic security that comes with relationship recognition and inclusive workplace policies can only boost morale leading to a more productive work environment which is critical to the success of a company.