HRC-Led Business Coalition Supports DOMA Repeal
The Human Rights Campaign now counts with a new group of allies: a business coalition made up of companies like Marriott, eBay, and Armani Exchange.
The group, comprised of Fortune 500 and brand name companies, has vowed to stand behind the Respect for Marriage Act, a bill which repeals the Defense of Marriage Act and recognizes all marriages for legal purposes, according to the HRC.
Originally introduced in 2011 in the Senate by Senator Dianne Feinstein, the Respect for Marriage Act was killed in the House. The HRC states the bill now counts with bipartisan support and could be reintroduced in Congress as early as next month.
DOMA is a 1996 law that defines marriage as a union between a man and a woman, thus depriving gay couples of the rights and privileges granted to heterosexual couples, like filing tax returns together and maintaining estate rights after widowing. The federal law, which overrules state law, creates a loophole in rights even in states where gay marriage is legal.
Among past backers are Republican Reps.Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Richard Hanna (R-NY), and Charles Bass (R-NH). Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-NY) and Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) are spearheading the reintroduction of the bill.
"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."
HRC President Chad Griffin said companies like Marriot understand equality is not only morally correct, but also good for business.
"These corporate pioneers understand one marriage deserves no less respect and dignity than any other marriage," Griffin said in a statement. "They understand that repealing the discriminatory Defense of Marriage Act is the right thing for our nation, and the smart thing for American business. We call on both large and small businesses to add their voices to the growing chorus calling for an end to this odious law."