Mega outdoor sporting retailer REI, supporting marriage equality in Washington StateTop Highlights, Breaking News Monday, August 13th, 2012
According to Washington United for Marriage (WUM), a group working to defend the state’s equitable marriage law, announced support for its cause by REI, a seller of sporting goods, mountain-hiking and other outdoor equipment, which was founded by “a group of Pacific Northwest mountaineers in 1938,” has publicly endorsed marriage equality.
“Marriage equality is important to the co-op because the benefits, legal clarity and social understanding that Warren and I have enjoyed these past 34 years should be available to any two people who want to express their love and make a permanent commitment to each other that is so clearly provided for in the legal definition of marriage,” Jewell wrote. (The full blog can be read at the end of this release.)
“We are so proud to have REI take this powerful step in endorsing the freedom to marry and our effort to Approve Referendum 74,” said WUM Campaign Manager Zach Silk. “REI is one of Washington’s iconic companies and it’s woven into many of our lives. Whether we’re on a day hike, paddling in a kayak, or pitching a tent with our kids, we’re generally doing it with gear we got at REI. As a result, this endorsement will register with a lot of people and we’re very grateful to have REI’s support.”
Referendum 74 would grant same-sex couples the right to marry in Washington, while also protecting religious organizations from mandates to perform same-sex weddings if their religious tenets forbade them from doing so.
REI has been a consistent member of Fortune’s Best Places to Work ranking every year since the list began. According to a press release from WUM, REI has nearly $1.8 billion in annual sales and has nearly 5 million co-op members nationwide.
“REI has a long history of environmental stewardship and is committed to increasing access to outdoor recreative through volunteerism, gear donations and financial contributions,” the statement said.
Among the leading business supporters of Approve 74 and WUM are Nike, Starbucks, Amazon, Google, Microsoft, Alcoa, Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce and Vulcan.
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