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February 06, 2012

Gay marriage gains big corporate ally: Lloyd Blankfein of Goldman Sachs

American corporations, while conservative in their business practices, have long been far ahead of elected officials on gay rights. Companies large and small became early adopters of nondiscrimination policies and domestic partner benefits. Now, many business leaders are voicing their support for the right for same-sex couples to marry.

Goldman Sachs chief executive Lloyd Blankfein endorsed marriage equality in a video for the Human Rights Campaign, a gay rights organization based in Washington. Goldman backed the successful effort last year to legalize same-sex marriage in New York state. This year, Maryland and Washington state could become the seventh and eighth states, plus the District of Columbia, where gays can marry.

"America's corporations learned a long time ago that equality is just good business, and is the right thing to do," Blankfein says in the 30-second video.

Other big corporate backers of same-sex marriage include Starbucks, Google, Microsoft, Nike and Alcoa.

And on Tuesday, a pivotal decision is expected in the court case challenging Proposition 8, the California ballot measure that took away marriage rights for same-sex couples months after they gained them. The Los Angeles Times reports that a three-judge panel on the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals appears to lean toward striking down the ban, but its supporters will almost certainly appeal to the Supreme Court.

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