Why Republican Gay Discrimination Costs Us
by LiberalLucy, Thu Feb 15, 2007 at 07:33:13 AM EST
Congratulations, Michigan. You join 26 other states in officially discriminating against the very people who pay your taxes, start and own businesses, and traditionally have the most disposable income of any major demographic.
Honestly, for a party that's supposedly about helping businesses and decreasing the size of government, the Republicans are clearly headed in the wrong direction.
According to Fortune magazine, about 175 Fortune 500 brands advertise specifically to gay and lesbian audiences.
For the first time, more than half of Fortune 500 companies - 263, to be precise - offered health benefits for domestic partners, according to the Human Rights Campaign. Ten years ago only 28 did.
Along with health benefits for their families, many workers also get bereavement leave when their same-sex partner dies, adoption assistance or paid leave if they have children and relocation assistance for their partners if they are transferred. Put another way, gay marriage - an idea that has been banned by all but one of 27 states that have voted on it - has become a fact of life inside many big companies.
"Corporate America is far ahead of America generally when it comes to the question of equality for GLBT people," says Joe Solmonese, president of the Human Rights Campaign.
Consider this - Raytheon, a defense contractor that makes Tomahawk Missiles (think Gulf War I) is rated as one of the Best Places to Work by the Human Rights Campaign, because they are reaching out to the GLBT community. Why the outreach? (Also from Fortune)
... it belongs to gay chambers of commerce in communities where it has big plants. Why? you may ask. Not because gay people buy missiles or radar - at least as far as we know. No, it's because the competition to hire and retain engineers and other skilled workers is so brutal that Raytheon doesn't want to overlook anyone.
To attract openly gay workers, who worry about discrimination, a company like Raytheon needs to hang out a big welcome sign. "Over the next ten years we're going to need anywhere from 30,000 to 40,000 new employees," explains Heyward Bell, Raytheon's chief diversity officer. "We can't afford to turn our back on anyone in the talent pool."
Isn't it interesting that Michigan is in that very same situation, except we are the shareholders. The financial futures of ourselves, our children and our grandchildren depend on how well we advertise and promote our state to the rest of the global community.
It seems to me that Michigan and these 26 other states can't afford to turn our backs on anyone, and yet thanks to certain narrow-minded individuals, that's all we seem to be doing. While the Democrats and others are attempting to hang out the biggest welcome sign of them all, the Republicans are tearing it down faster than we can cry "Stop, thief!"
If the Republicans want to convince the voters that they really deserve to be in charge in '08, they should remember the words to one of the first songs we all learn as kids...
Jesus loves the little children
All the children of the world...
...not just the white straight ones.
(Cross-posted at Liberal, Loud and Proud and Michigan Liberal)