Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Why companies can be bolder than politicians on same-sex marriage

While "corporation" is currently one of the obligatory snarl words, an article posted today on the Web site of Financial Times posits the following reason why the private sector can move ahead of politicans on recognition of same-sex marriage:
I think there is a deeper reason. If you work with people every day, it doesn’t seem right that some of their partners benefit from their health and pension plans while others don’t. And once you accept that same-sex partners should have workplace equality, what justification can there be for denying them the legal blessing and protection available to married heterosexuals? Even if you had religious objections, how easy would you find it to defend them while looking one of your gay colleagues in the eye?
Perhaps, but I noted some different reasons back in 2000:
First, an inherent feature of politics is winner-take-all majoritarianism. The private sector has no such limitation. Thus, while an anti-gay voter initiative cannot simultaneously succeed and fail, both ''Will and Grace'' and Dr. Laura Schlessinger can find audiences on the airwaves.

Second, while a state government can forbid gay marriage for no better reason than to satisfy irrational bigotry, the private sector cannot afford such a move. It is therefore no surprise that domestic-partner benefits are old news in the corporate world ....
Either way, we need to move beyond the simplistic, but oh so P.C., mantra that "corporate is conservative."

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