From: Bryan Crigler, Herbal Turtle Farms (and others listed below.)
For the past two decades, our nation has debated the freedom to marry for same-sex couples. The data available today suggests that Minnesota and the rest of the country are moving on a journey toward the freedom to marry for same-sex couples. Today, 58 percent of all adult Americans think same-sex marriage should be legal, according to a March 2013 ABC News-Washington Post survey. Among young people, the survey found 81 percent support same-sex marriage. The only remaining question is how long it will take for it to arrive in Minnesota.
As Minnesota and Winona business people, we strongly believe that it is in our state’s long-term best interests for the Legislature to ensure that all Minnesotans have the same freedom to marry the person they love by approving full marriage equality in 2013. Supporting the freedom to marry is the right thing to do. It also is smart business.
The business case for equality and inclusion is compelling:
• Discrimination is bad for business. A welcoming state is essential to recruiting and retaining the best young talent. Minnesota employers have known this for years. Minnesota’s largest and most successful companies have been the nation’s leaders in creating diverse workplaces and extending family benefits to domestic partners. This leadership has made our community a strong magnet for attracting and retaining the nation’s top talent — not just gay and lesbian professionals, but today’s educated young workers who increasingly say that living in welcoming communities is important.
• Uncertainty undermines business planning. Uncertainty is inefficient and expensive. Consider the challenges of our multi-state and multi-national employers who increasingly will have to sort out a patchwork of state and federal laws affecting marriage. Yes, even if the Minnesota Legislature grants marriage equality this year, laws won’t be uniform across the country. But action this year gives Minnesota businesses the opportunity to start planning for the equality that is certain to come.
• Marriage inequality makes some of our employees second-class citizens. Turnover and a loss of productivity are two of the consequences that come when some employees are denied rights that most of us take for granted, including family issues and end-of-life decisions among many others. Workplace policies aren’t a replacement for equal rights under the law.
Marriage equality is not on the legislative agenda simply because Minnesota voters soundly defeated the constitutional amendment which sought to limit the definition of marriage in November. That vote may have accelerated legislative consideration of the issue, but it would have arrived at the Capitol sooner rather than later with or without last fall’s vote. This choice is before you now because it is the right thing to do, for our employees and their families, for our companies’ business success and for the economic prosperity of all Minnesotans.
We urge the legislature to reaffirm Minnesota’s leadership in equality and economic opportunity by passing legislation in 2013 that ensures gay and lesbian Minnesotans, at long last, have the freedom to marry the person they love.
Also from: Kristine Drost, Wildhearts Hedgehogs, Penny Kropidlowski, Beno’s Deli, Chris Livingston, The Book Shelf, Richmond McCluer, Price, McCluer & Plachecki, Debra Niebuhr, Relaxation Zone, Shelley Olsen, Paperbacks and Pieces, Gaby Peterson, Kelly Momsen, Yarnology
Shannon Porter, Shannon Porter Photography