The Walt Disney Company has joined other studios in writing an open letter in support of the Respect For Marriage Act. This letter was spearheaded by the Human Rights Campaign. Officially known as H.R. 8404 in the House and S. 4556 in the Senate, this bill would repeal in its entirety the Defense of Marriage Act, which was passed in 1996. The move comes after the Supreme Court recently struck down Roe v. Wade, leading to concerns that the Supreme Court will strike down marriages for same-sex and interracial couples next.
The open letter reads as follows:
Together we, the signatories of this letter, write in support of the Respect for Marriage Act (H.R. 8404/S. 4556) representing a diversity of industries and brands that do business, serve customers and create jobs in nearly every community in the United States. Fairness, equal treatment, and opportunity are central to our corporate values because we care about our employees and the customers we serve. Americans from all walks of life, across demographics, geographies, and party lines agree that loving, committed couples have the right to be respected and protected under the law. 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. As many of us highlighted in our support for Marriage Equality in 2015, a patchwork of inconsistent and discriminatory state marriage laws goes against our company values and makes it harder for us to do business and to recruit and retain top talent.
This is why we support the passage of the Respect for Marriage Act. Codifying a consistent and inclusive
federal standard conferred by the Loving, Windsor, and Obergefell rulings will help to ensure marriage equality, eliminate confusion for employers and enable us to retain and attract talent. 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.
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.
Our employees are the foundation of our companies – they drive our ability to successfully do business, invest in communities around the country, and create the products and services we proudly offer. As business leaders committed to inclusion and equality for our employees, their families, and the communities we serve, we call on the Senate to pass the Respect for Marriage Act.
This letter is currently signed by 173 signatories. This represents more than 5.3 million employees. The addition of Disney’s signature comes quickly after a delayed opposition to Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” bill earlier this year.
The Respect for Marriage Act has already been passed in the House of Representatives.