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Dive Brief:

  • The Human Rights Campaign announced on Thursday that 173 businesses have signed a letter that calls on the Senate to pass The Respect for Marriage Act, according to a press release from the organization. 
  • The letter to Senators states that codifying a standard would “help to ensure marriage equality, eliminate confusion for employers and enable us to retain and attract talent.” The businesses together employ over 5.3 million people in the U.S. 
  • Retailers that signed the letter include Macy’s, Nike, Nordstrom, Target, Patagonia and Amazon. Walmart, which employs around 1.6 million people in the U.S., is absent from the list.

Dive Insight:

A number of large retailers are rallying behind The Respect for Marriage Act, which would repeal the Defense of Marriage Act and enshrine marriage equality for federal law purposes. That encompasses marriage between two individuals regardless of sex, race, ethnicity or national origin. 

The House passed the act on July 19, in a vote of 267 to 157, with 47 Republicans voting in favor. 

In a letter to Senators, businesses stated that they strongly embrace diversity and inclusion: “Inclusive business practices improve our bottom lines and lead to more productive and engaged employees, increased customer satisfaction, and, ultimately, improved competitiveness and financial performance.” 

Jeff Gennette, CEO of Macy’s, posted his personal support for the Act and said it had the backing of the department store. “[W]e are committed to creating a brighter future with bold representation for all. When marriage equality is called into question, our equal rights as U.S. citizens are in jeopardy,” Gennette wrote on LinkedIn

According to Gallup findings cited by The Human Rights Campaign, 71% of Americans support marriage for same-sex couples. Additionally, 55% of Republicans support same-sex marriage, along with 83% of Democrats. 

Retailers have increasingly found themselves in the position to respond to a number of social justice issues unfolding in the U.S. Earlier this summer, many in the industry came out with statements regarding The Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, with some announcing they would cover travel for employees living in states where abortion is banned.



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