The Walt Disney Co., Comcast NBCUniversal and Sony Pictures Entertainment are among the major media and tech companies to sign on to a Human Rights Campaign letter, urging the Senate to pass marriage equality legislation amid fears that it could be rolled back by some future Supreme Court ruling.
The letter — which you can read here — says that “no person, including same-sex couples and interracial couples protected by this bill, should fear their marriage will not be recognized by the
federal government or their employment benefits threatened.”
The three companies were among more than 170 to sign on to the letter. Others include Amazon, Apple, AT&T, Bloomberg, Universal Music Group and Warner Music Group. Netflix, Paramount Global and Warner Bros. Discovery were not on the list, but an HRC spokesperson said that names were still be added. Spokespersons for those three companies did not immediately return requests for comment, but Paramount Global and WarnerMedia (the pre-merger name of Warner Bros. Discovery) signed on to a HRC letter earlier this year opposing legislation singling out LGBTQ individuals.
After the Supreme Court’s decision in June to overturn Roe V. Wade, Democrats and LGBTQ activists have expressed concern that the high court could look at other precedents, including Obergefell v. Hodges, the 2015 ruling that struck down same-sex marriage bans across the country. In his majority opinion striking down Roe, Justice Samuel Alito wrote that the ruling shouldn’t have an impact on past rulings that do not concern abortion. But in his concurring opinion, Justice Clarence Thomas suggested that past precedents on marriage rights, same-sex relationships and contraception should be reconsidered.
The HRC letter stated, “Our businesses strongly embrace diversity and inclusion because we want everyone who works for us or does business with us to feel included and welcomed as their true, authentic selves. Inclusive business practices improve our bottom lines and lead to more productive and engaged employees, increased customer satisfaction, and, ultimately, improved competitiveness and financial performance.”
It’s unclear when the Senate will take up the legislation, which would require states to recognize same-sex marriages from other states. It also would recognize same-sex marriages at the federal level, among with interracial marriages. The House passed the legislation 267-157 earlier this month.
While corporate support for marriage equality is not new, companies have faced some heat from the right for taking stances on major cultural issues. Disney faced a backlash from Florida lawmakers earlier this year when it issued statements opposing a bill that restricted K-3 teachers from discussing general identity and sexual orientation. Opponents dubbed the bill the “don’t say gay” law. After Disney’s opposition, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis led an effort to strip the company of a special district that governs its Florida theme parks.
The companies noted in the HRC letter, “Support for marriage equality for same-sex couples and interracial couples is at an all-time high — with vast majorities of the public supporting these policies.”