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DOMAs Demise Celebrated by Apple, Other Top Tech Firms – Mike Isaac – Social – AllThingsD

In a pair of 5-4 decisions, the Supreme Court on Wednesday ruled in favor of same-sex couples in two major cases, effectively allowing federal benefits for gay couples and clearing the way for same-sex marriages in the state of California.

One ruling overturned the Defense of Marriage Act, or DOMA, the bill passed in 1996 that ruled same-sex marriages unconstitutional. The other decision left intact a lower-court ruling that invalidated California’s Prop. 8 ban on same-sex marriage.

Among progressive Silicon Valley tech companies, the reaction was incredibly positive.

“Apple strongly supports marriage equality and we consider it a civil rights issue. We applaud the Supreme Court for its decisions today,” an Apple spokesman told AllThingsDin a statement.

Google, in typical Google fashion, has had fun with its statement of support for same-sex couples. Type the word “gay”, “lesbian”, “transgender” or “bisexual” into Google’s search bar, and the box quickly morphs into a pride-colored rainbow, a not-so-subtle showing of celebration. (As Staci Kramer points out, this isn’t a new thing for Google — the company has done the rainbow search bar thing for Pride week for years now.)

HP also hopped on board, pointing to its history of support for the gay community: “HP has more than 30 years of partnership with and participation in pride events, and works throughout the year to build and strengthen HP as an organization that values all employees, customers and communities,” said Michael Thacker, global communications chair, HP Pride Employee Resource Group. “Our sponsorship at San Francisco Pride this year is a great example of how HP is committed to diversity and to creating a flexible, inclusive environment for everyone inside and outside of the company.”

Facebook declined to comment, but earlier in the week, a Facebook spokesman pointed out that of the roughly 200 million U.S. Facebook users, 70 percent have a gay friend on the social network. That’s a noteworthy indication that in recent years, more Americans have increasingly accepted — or at least acknowledged — gay friends and family members.

It’s worth noting that CEO Mark Zuckerberg did post a pretty warm and fuzzy message to his Timeline (though not till later in the afternoon): “I’m proud that our country is moving in the right direction, and I’m happy for so many of my friends and their families. #PrideConnectsUs,” he wrote.

Instagram posted to its company blog a photo-documented celebration of the Supreme Court’s ruling as shot by people around the world.

Twitter didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment, but big business made clever use of the microblogging service. Companies like Mastercard and ABC purchased promoted tweets around the #gaymarriage hashtag, which meant that every time a user looked up the hashtag, they would have one of those promoted tweet ads pop up. Smart, quick thinking.

Of course, the Valley has quite a history around being progressive in its view of same-sex rights, especially compared to the rest of corporate America. Facebook, Twitter, Cisco, Intel and Qualcomm, along with hundreds of other companies, filed an amicus brief opposing the Defense of Marriage Act earlier this year.

And Apple, in particular, has traditionally stood against inequality, having long offered health benefits to same-sex couples employed by Apple, and publicly donating to the “No on Prop 8” campaign in 2008.

via DOMAs Demise Celebrated by Apple, Other Top Tech Firms – Mike Isaac – Social – AllThingsD.

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Disney Talks About Its Gay Days Celebration

The Mouse House’s efforts in establishing and maintaining corporate leadership and an employee base representative of the diverse communities it serves has not gone unnoticed. The Walt Disney Company is currently ranked one of the Top 50 Companies for Diversity by DiversityInc, a media group dedicated to promoting the business value of diversity-management initiatives.

Closer to home, the Human Rights Campaign recently awarded Disney a perfect score of 100 in its most recent Corporate Equality Index. Disney received top marks for its employment benefits for workers and their spouses/partners, as well as offering transgender-inclusive health insurance. Also considered in HRC’s scoring system is a company’s public commitment to, and responsible citizenship towards, its LGBT employees.

Walt Disney World employees, or “cast members” in Disney-speak, are encouraged to participate in the company’s Diversity Resource Groups. The clubs focus on individual populations represented in Disney’s workforce. And while becoming involved can certainly provide an employee benefits, Disney considers these groups more of an employee resource, much like training opportunities and information shared on the company’s intranet, that can be useful both on the job and in life.

Disney’s Diversity Resource Groups include: CastABLE, focused on differently-abled cast members and their allies; HOLA, which promotes Hispanic/Latino heritage; PULSE, dedicated to the development of cast members of African descent; FAMILIES, for parents, caregivers, potential parents and those impacted by parental interests in the workplace; VINTAGE, for older cast members; and PRIDE (People Respecting Individual Diversities in Everyone), which provides resources, learning opportunities and a supportive network to gay, lesbian and ally cast members.

via Disney Talks About Its Gay Days Celebration.

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NHL, NHLPA announce partnership with You Can Play Project – NHL.com – News

NEW YORK / TORONTO — The National Hockey League Players’ Association and the National Hockey League today announced a historic partnership with the You Can Play Project that formalizes and advances their long-standing commitment to make the NHL the most inclusive professional sports league in the world.

“The NHL sets the standard for professional sports when it comes to LGBT outreach and we are incredibly grateful for their help and support,” said Philadelphia Flyers scout Patrick Burke, the founder of the You Can Play Project, an advocacy organization that fights homophobia in sports. “We will work with League and NHLPA officials, teams and players to ensure that we create a more inclusive hockey community at all levels.”Said NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman: “Our motto is ‘Hockey Is For Everyone,’ and our partnership with You Can Play certifies that position in a clear and unequivocal way. While we believe that our actions in the past have shown our support for the LGBT community, we are delighted to reaffirm through this joint venture with the NHL Players’ Association that the official policy of the NHL is one of inclusion on the ice, in our locker rooms and in the stands.”

“NHL players have supported the You Can Play Project since its inception, which we are pleased to formalize and expand upon with today’s announcement,” said Don Fehr, NHLPA Executive Director. “The players believe our partnership with the NHL and You Can Play will foster an inclusive hockey environment from the grassroots level to the professional ranks.”

The official partnership with You Can Play includes a significant commitment to education and training for teams, players, media and fans plus the production and broadcast of more public service announcements.

via NHL, NHLPA announce partnership with You Can Play Project – NHL.com – News.

Boy Scouts of America No Longer Eligible for Grant Funding from The UPS Foundation | GLAAD

The UPS Foundation today joined a growing number of corporate leaders in providing financial support to those organizations that align with the company’s non-discrimination policy. Under this policy, the Boy Scouts of America is no longer eligible for grants from the UPS Foundation because of the BSA’s ban on gay scouts and scout leaders.

The UPS Foundation posted the following on its site:

The UPS Foundation seeks to support organizations that are in alignment with our focus areas, guidelines, and non-discrimination policy. UPS and The UPS Foundation do not discriminate against any person or organization with regard to categories protected by applicable law, as well as other categories protected by UPS and The UPS Foundation in our own policies. These include, but are not limited to race, gender, national origin, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, veteran or military status, pregnancy, age and religion.

UPS confirmed to GLAAD that under these guidelines, which UPS said have been in development for several months, organizations that are unable to attest to having a policy or practices that align with the Foundation’s non-discrimination policy will no longer be considered eligible for funding. Prior to The UPS Foundation’s non-discrimination language, UPS gave $167,000 to various Boy Scouts of America entities in 2010 and said there would not be a change to grant-making at that time according to an American Independent report in September 2012. UPS has consistently received high marks on the Human Rights Campaign’s (HRC) Corporate Equality Index, an annual survey that rates U.S. corporations on their non-discrimination policies and practices toward LGBT employees and consumers.

via Boy Scouts of America No Longer Eligible for Grant Funding from The UPS Foundation | GLAAD.

Vacation options for single seniors and gays and lesbians – Magazine – The Boston Globe

FOR GAYS & LESBIANS

A gay-friendly vacation can mean a same-sex couple need not endure being quizzed at check-in about their request for a double bed. Or it can mean a resort that caters exclusively to gays and lesbians. Knowing this demographic is more likely than the overall US population to have a passport and actually use it, mainstream companies from Delta to DoubleTree have launched programs to attract these vacationers. “We’ve seen a huge increase in both gay- and lesbian-owned and -friendly accommodations,” says J. Scott Coatsworth of the San Francisco-based website PurpleRoofs.com. “We’re closing in on 5,000 listings now — and they’re popping up in unexpected places, including China, India, Russia, Zambia, Kenya, and more.”

Small towns and more

You’d expect to find hotels catering to gay vacationers in Palm Springs and P-town. But how about Eureka Springs, Arkansas? In fact, this tiny Ozarks hamlet boasts a sizable gay community and the Magnetic Valley Resort (479-253-0200; magneticvalleyresort.com), a clothing-optional getaway for men. Also off the beaten track: New Hope, Pennsylvania, which marks its 10th annual Pride Week & Parade in May with a mile-long rainbow flag borrowed from sister city Key West. Stay and play at The Raven (215-862-2081; theravennewhope.com), a 10-room inn whose Oak Room bar offers male revues and a Lipstick Mondays drag show and where a Sunday afternoon Tea Dance is held on the deck. If an all-inclusive mega-resort is more your scene, Atlantis Events (800-628-5268; atlantisevents.com) has reserved Club Med Cancun for its gay and lesbian vacationers the last week in April.

Urban destinations

New York may now have THE OUT NYC (212-947-2999; theoutnyc.com), the city’s first hotel catering to same-sex travelers, as well as established gay-friendly attractions, but Las Vegas is nipping at the Big Apple’s heels. This fall, Sin City saw its first Gay Days (888-942-9329; gaydays.com), a collection of parties and outings that has been held annually in Orlando for years. In December, an 80,000-square-foot disco called Krave Massive (702-836-0830; kravemassive.com) and touted as the world’s biggest gay nightclub should open in Las Vegas; it joins Drink & Drag (702-489-3724; drinkanddrag.com), a bowling alley staffed by drag queens that launched this year.

Cruises

In February, Atlantis Events (800-628-5268; atlantisevents.com) will take over Royal Caribbean’s 3,700-passenger Independence of the Seas for an eight-night Caribbean cruise catering to gay men. Meanwhile, Olivia (800-631-6277; olivia.com) serves the female market, with two southern Caribbean trips in January and February marking its 40th anniversary.

Festivals

The party/festival circuit can keep your calendar hopping. Around Thanksgiving is Miami’s long-running White Party Week (305-576-1234; whiteparty.org), offering pool parties, dances, and other events. Then head to the slopes in January for Aspen Gay Ski Week (866-564-8398; gayskiweek.com), featuring hot tub parties, costume races, and more. In February, go down under when Sydney’s Mardi Gras (mardigras.org.au) celebrates its 35th year with an entire month of festivities.

Family-friendly outings

With a fifth of same-sex couples now braving parenthood, savvy vacation outlets are starting to cater to the kiddie crowd. New York-based trip operator R Family Vacations (917-522-0985; rfamilyvacations.com) organizes summer camp experiences at Club Getaway in Kent, Connecticut, and Wonder Valley Ranch Resort in Sanger, California. Or, how about the Happiest Place on Earth? Though not sanctioned by Walt’s people, Gay Days (888-942-9329; gaydays.com) at Orlando’s Disney World is one of the country’s largest pride events, attracting more than 160,000 guests. It will be held May 28 to June 3 in 2013; expect to see a sea of participants’ red shirts at the Main Street USA parade and beyond.

 

BY THE NUMBERS

> Top US destinations for LGBT travelers

1. New York City

2. San Francisco

3. Las Vegas

via Vacation options for single seniors and gays and lesbians – Magazine – The Boston Globe.

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Why Would Corporations Support Marriage Equality? :: EDGE on the Net

In the afterglow of Tuesday’s election, the term “historic turning point” for LGBT rights is hardly an overstatement. The passage of equal marriage rights by popular vote in three states, the blockage of an anti-equality constitutional amendment in a fourth (after losses in 30 other states), plus the reelection of the first president to ever publicly ally himself with same-sex marriage equality, demonstrates a dramatic shift in public attitudes.

Equally dramatic, however, and perhaps even more significant, has been the willingness of large businesses and major corporations to lend both their names and dollars toward the cause. In Washington State, in particular, a blue-chip list of high-profile companies — Starbucks, Nordstrom, Amazon, Microsoft, REI, to name just a few — took a prominent stand in support of the marriage-equality referendum. Amazon chief Jeff Bezos tossed in $2.5 million of his own toward the campaign. Bill Gates wrote a check for $100,000.

Less than 20 years ago, in 1994, Senator Edward Kennedy’s staff had a difficult time trying to convince corporate executives to testify on behalf of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), the first attempt to bar employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation at the federal level (a measure that still has not passed.) Their companies had successfully implemented internal policies that did the same; the executives were even on record saying they thought it was a good idea. But testify before Congress? No, thanks.

Why the change? The list of supportive companies comes as no surprise to anyone who is familiar with gay-friendly companies. For more than 20 years, many of these companies have been in the forefront, banning discrimination, creating safe and supportive environments, even pioneering equalized benefits for lesbian and gay families of their employees — and proving they could work fairly and cost-effectively. (Starbucks was notable here, even offering domestic-partner health benefits to part-timers.) They did it because their corporate cultures valued employees and their diversity, which they believed — and proved –gave them access to top talent and creativity.

They did it well, but they did it quietly.

So why the new level of prominence on the marriage equality issue? There’s a business advantage for them.

“Business seeks uniformity,” said Bob Witeck, founder of Washington, D.C.-based Witeck Communications, a public relations and marketing communications firm with a longstanding reputation for advising companies on LGBT issues. He points out that some of the Washington State supporters are among the more than 40 corporations that initially signed on to an amicus brief in the case to overturn the federal Defense of Marriage Act (a list that is growing as DOMA nears the Supreme Court).

via Why Would Corporations Support Marriage Equality? :: EDGE on the Net.

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Nordstrom backs marriage equality in message to employees – Puget Sound Business Journal

Nordstrom Inc. has come out in support of allowing gay and lesbian couples to marry.

“It is our belief that our gay and lesbian employees are entitled to the same rights and protections marriage provides under the law as our other employees,” Nordstrom President Blake Nordstrom said in an internal email to company employees Thursday.

The email was signed by Blake Nordstrom and his brothers – Pete Nordstrom, executive vice president and president – merchandising, and Erik Nordstrom, executive vice president and president – stores. Nordstrom joins a growing number of companies taking a position on the issue of marriage equality.

In the email, Nordstrom said supporting freedom to marry “will help us create a more attractive and inclusive workplace for our current and prospective employees.”

The publicly traded Seattle-based retailer has long been supportive of gay and lesbian employees, adding sexual orientation to its anti-discrimination policy in 1995 and offering life partner benefits to employees starting in 1998.

via Nordstrom backs marriage equality in message to employees – Puget Sound Business Journal.

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Chick-fil-A Ceases Anti-gay Donations, Clarifies Stance on Gay Customers & Employees

September 18, 2012 – Chicago, Illinois – The Civil Rights Agenda (TCRA), Illinois’ leading lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) civil rights advocacy organization, has learned that Alderman Moreno has finalized his negotiations with Chick-Fil-A. Alderman Moreno has confirmed that Chick-fil-A will no longer give money to anti-gay organizations and that they have clarified in an internal document that the company will treat every person equally, regardless of sexual orientation. The Civil Rights Agenda worked closely with the Alderman in an advisory role as he negotiated these concessions with the executives at Chick-fil-A. Additionally, members of TCRA spoke directly with executives at Chick-fil-A during negotiations to aid in educating their decision makers about anti-discrimination policies and issues affecting the LGBT community.

In a letter addressed to Alderman Moreno and signed by Chick-fil-A’s Senior Director of Real Estate, it states, “The WinShape Foundations is now taking a much closer look at the organizations it considers helping, and in that process will remain true to its stated philosophy of not supporting organizations with political agendas.” Winshape, a non-profit funded by Chick-fil-a, has donated millions of dollars to anti-LGBT groups, including some classified as hate groups. In meetings the company executives clarified that they will no longer give to anti-gay organizations.

“We are very pleased with this outcome and thank Alderman Moreno for his work on this issue,” said Anthony Martinez, executive director of The Civil Rights Agenda. “I think the most substantive part of this outcome is that Chick-fil-A has ceased donating to organizations that promote discrimination, specifically against LGBT civil rights. It has taken months of discussion, both with our organization and with the Alderman, for Chick-fil-A to come forward with these concessions and we feel this is a strong step forward for Chick-fil-A and the LGBT community, although it is only a step.”

Additionally, they have sent an internal memo to franchisees and stakeholders that states that as a company, they will “treat every person with honor, dignity and respect-regardless of their beliefs, race, creed, sexual orientation and gender” and that their “intent is not to engage in political or social debates.” This statement was placed into an official company document called “Chick-fil-A: Who We Are.”

“Although we are encouraged by their internal statement, we would still like for the company to adopt an anti-discrimination policy at the corporate level,” said Rick Garcia, policy advisor for The Civil Rights Agenda. “It is one thing for a company to say they respect everyone they serve and employ, it is quite another for them to put that into their policies and demand that all employees adhere to that behavior. As we have heard from gay employees that work for Chick-fil-A, there is a culture of discrimination within the company and we would like to ensure that employees can speak out and call attention to those practices without fear of reprisal. It takes time to change the culture of any institution and steps like a corporate policy ensure that progress is made.”

via The Civil Rights Agenda.

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Las Vegas tourism officials embracing value of LGBT dollars – Business – ReviewJournal.com

At the Bagatelle Beach Club, DJ Roland Belmares spins a song while young people dance their Friday away. Cocktails flow as servers walk the area, ensuring no glass is empty.

It’s just another pool party in Las Vegas, ladies and gentlemen. Or is it?

This weekend, thousands of gay and lesbian visitors will gather in Las Vegas to celebrate at the Pride Las Vegas parade, festival and satellite events. Many of those tourists can be found at the Tropicana, home of Gay Days Las Vegas.

Gay tourism is on the rise in the city, propelled by word of mouth, new programming and targeted efforts by the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority.

For its part, the travel board creates dedicated advertising campaigns aimed at the LGBT community that appear in gay media publications such as Curve and Out. A recent one features a stereotypical male-female couple standing in the middle of an all-male pool party under the phrase “Everyone’s welcome, even straight people.”

Kevin Bagger, senior director of marketing for the authority, said that in terms of popular gay tourist destinations, New York tops the list, while Las Vegas and San Francisco are tied for second.

“It is important to the LGBT market that the market they visit is welcoming and authentically so,” Bagger said. “You have to do more than just have a rainbow-colored logo.”

via Las Vegas tourism officials embracing value of LGBT dollars – Business – ReviewJournal.com.

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