Tuesday, July 31, 2012

In Gay Marriage Fight, Some Companies Take a Stand

Originally posted 7/30/12 at Religion News Service

(RNS) In an unconventional move, a number of high-profile business executives have come out on the issue of gay marriage. founder Jeff Bezos is the latest to say "I do" to supporting same-sex unions. On Friday (July 27), Washington United for Marriage, a coalition that seeks to uphold a gay marriage law that passed in Washington, announced that Bezos and his wife MacKenzie will donate $2.5 million to its cause.

Microsoft founder Bill Gates and CEO Steve Ballmer have each donated $100,000 to the effort to keep gay marriage legal. Ken Powell, CEO of food behemoth General Mills, has publicly spoken out against Minnesota's proposed amendment that would ban gay marriage. And Paul Singer, founder of financial firm Elliott Management, recently contributed $150,000 to Freedom to Marry, which fights for gay marriage across the nation.

In an opposite corner is Chick-fil-A President and Chief Operating Officer Dan Cathy, who recently told Baptist Press that Chick-fil-A is "very much supportive of the family — the biblical definition of the family unit."

Cathy's perceived anti-gay marriage statements renewed the nation's debate on this hot-button topic.

The CEO of the Jim Henson Company responded. The company, which had a licensing agreement to supply toys for Chick-fil-A's kids' meals, said it will not partner with them on any future endeavors.

"Lisa Henson, our CEO, is personally a strong supporter of gay marriage and has directed us to donate the payment we received from Chick-Fil-A to (the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation)," it said in a written statement.

In the case of Chick-fil-A, it's not just executives weighing in. Politicians are getting involved too.