Northwest business executives launch ad for R-74
Oct 14, 2012 (The Olympian (Menafn - Olympia - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --EXECUTIVES FROM LEADING WASHINGTON BUSINESSES -- including iconic Northwest brands Costco, Nordstrom, Microsoft, REI, Amazon.com and many others -- have signed onto a full page ad in this morning's Sunday Seattle Times, endorsing Referendum 74's same-sex marriage law.
The ad -- see it here -- is paid by Washington United for Marriage, the pro-74 committee that has raised 8.9 million so far. Opponents with Preserve Marriage Washington have raised 1.78 million but campaigners from its national affiliate group have said much more could be raised and spent.
The newspaper ad comes three days after opponents of R-74 released their first television ad, which uses the theme that R-74 is redefining marriage, adds no new rights for gays and could leave businesses subject to lawsuits.
Ballots go into the mail as soon as Wednesday and should start landing in mailboxes as soon as Thursday for the Nov. 6 election. Washington runs one of the nation's two all-mail elections systems.
The Evergreen State is one of four where gay-marriage questions are on the ballot this fall and it was the first state in 2009 to affirm same-sex relationships by a popular vote when Referendum 71's domestic partnership law (also known as the "everything but marriage" law) was upheld.
Gay-rights activist Anne Levinson, who led the defense of R-71, said that signers of the Times ad are representing "a wide cross-section of our state's economy" and they offer refutation of the criticism that R-74 harms businesses.
"To have this breadth of business support alongside the endorsement of every major labor union in the state means that business owners, business leaders and workers alike are all solidly in support of same-sex couples having the freedom to marry," Levinson explained in an email.
She said the businesses that came together did so outside the R-74 campaign on what she called a "peer to peer" basis. She called that unprecedented in her years of work on pro-gay issues.
Levinson also said the ad grew out of her conversations with many individuals supportive of marriage, whose companies that didn't endorse R-74, as well as those whose firms had taken a stand.
"So I asked if folks thought others might like to sign onto a statement of support. There was immediate enthusiasm, each asking others, and it came together in a matter of weeks," she explained. Among those she mentioned were banker Phyllis Campbell, Bob Donegan of the Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce, Brad Tilden of Alaska Air, Glenn Johnson of Horizon Air, Howard Wright of the Seattle Hospitality Group of Companies, and Jon Bridge of Ben Bridge Jewelers.
Their ad states:
"We support allowing all loving, committed couples the freedom to marry because it means every employee is treated fairly, it helps our competitive business advantage and is good for our state's economy." To have this breadth of business support alongside the endorsement of every major labor union in the state means that business owners, business leaders and workers alike are all solidly in support of same-sex couples having the freedom to marry."
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