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Business playing key role in drive for gay marriage

Gay marriage wouldn’t have passed in the Washington state Legislature this year without Gov. Chris Gregoire’s decision to reverse course and push for it. Legislators’ personal pleas to colleagues, as epitomized by Republican Rep. Maureen Walsh’s passionate floor speech about her desire to throw her daughter a wedding someday, also played a major role. The speech went viral on YouTube. But according to the bill’s sponsor, Democratic state Sen. Ed Murray, there was nothing more crucial to the legalization of gay marriage than support from high-profile businesses such as Nike Inc. and Microsoft Corp. “It’s how we got moderate Republicans and conservative Democrats to vote for this,” he said. Murray and others first harnessed support from the business community for gay rights in 2006 by using an economic development argument to pass an anti-discrimination bill that had been in the works for 29 years. Support from Boeing Co. and Microsoft helped turn key votes. Since that time, gay rights activists have built aggressively from their original base of industry support. Some gay rights groups have hired lobbyists whose sole focus is reaching out to business leaders. Image: More…

News selected by Covalence | Country: Global | Company: Nike, Microsoft, Boeing Co., Alcoa, Goldman Sachs, Starbucks, Google | Source: Bangor Daily News

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