SEATTLE – The Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce, representing 2,200 companies across the Puget Sound region, has voted to support Referendum 74 and uphold Washington state’s marriage equality law.
The resolution adopted yesterday by the Chamber’s Board of Trustees cited three major economic benefits of marriage equality:
- Improving recruiting efforts for Washington state businesses, which compete against companies in states like Massachusetts and New York that have extended civil marriage rights to same-sex couples.
- Simpler definition and administration of benefits offered to employees’ spouses and families. Under the state’s current system of civil marriages for heterosexual couples and domestic partnerships for same-sex couples, companies often have to create separate policies to describe and administer benefits for married couples and domestic partners.
- Adding $88 million to our state’s economy over the first three years of the change in law, an estimate made in a 2012 study done by the Williams Institute at UCLA. Businesses represented in the Chamber’s membership that stand to directly benefit include jewelry stores, clothing retailers, hotels, photographers, caterers, restaurants and other
“There is a clear business case for supporting equal access to civil marriage rights,” said George Allen, senior vice president of Government Relations for the Chamber. “Marriage equality allows our companies to streamline benefit administration, improves our ability to recruit and retain the best talent, and helps our state’s bottom line.”
The Chamber has historically supported inclusiveness and diversity in the workplace. In 2009, the Chamber backed Referendum 71 to expand the rights and benefits of couples in state-registered domestic partnerships. As an extension of this effort, the Chamber joined the city of Seattle, seven other U.S. cities, and dozens of businesses as signatories on a friend-of-the-court brief filed Tuesday that challenges the federal government’s Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).
For the Referendum 74 campaign, the Chamber is aligning with some of the region’s most well-known businesses and associations, as well as labor organizations, political groups, nonprofits and faith-based organizations. For the full list of supporters, visit washingtonunitedformarriage.org.
About The Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce
The Seattle Metropolitan (Seattle Metro) Chamber of Commerce is the largest and most diverse network of influential business leaders in the Puget Sound region. Founded in 1882 by local business leaders, the Chamber today is an independent organization of 2,200 businesses representing a regional workforce of approximately 700,000 people. For more information, visit www.seattlechamber.com.