You're standing in front of your Family and Friends prepared to make your dreams of a lifetime come true. It's at that moment that you are grateful that you have a professional guiding your ceremony. The Supreme Court has finally ruled upon this issue. Now is the time to plan your perfect LGBT Wedding. I have been performing Commitment Ceremonies since the beginning, and I am so pleased this has opened up for everyone to marry the one they Love. Contact Reverend Jacqui Weiks, Your LGBT Wedding Officiant
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Equality is Big Business: Gay Friendly Businesses
Since 2002, the Human Rights Campaign has conducted an annual survey of corporate equality, evaluating whether businesses are gay friendly by several criteria, including whether equal employment opportunity policies include sexual orientation and gender identity, if the company offers equivalent benefits for same-sex partners, if the company’s health insurance coverage is transgender-inclusive, and if the organization includes sexual orientation and gender transition in its nondiscrimination policies. The index also takes a company’s public stances on LGBT issues into account, subtracting points if either the company or its leadership has been involved in any recent anti-LGBT activity.
Gay Friendly Businesses
In 2015, 366 businesses achieved a top rating of 100, including these eight large companies. While some have long been committed to equal rights, others are finally catching up to the times.
Eight Large Gay Friendly Businesses
Apple CEO Tim Cook came out in 2014, writing an Op-Ed in Bloomberg BusinessWeek where he stated that he was “proud to be gay” and highlighted the efforts Apple has made to support gay friendly legislation, including a workplace equality bill. Apple’s iTunes store featured a special LGBT section for 2015’s Pride month, and the company’s “Inclusion inspires innovation” campaign supports workplace diversity, including sexual orientation.
Although CVS Health Corp only scored an 85 in 2014, the company improved its 2015 gay friendly business score by introducing transgender-inclusive health benefits, including medical benefits for transition-related expenses. CVS Health was the top-rated pharmacy in the index. As part of its rebranding as CVS Health, the company also launched a new ad campaign featuring a gay couple, which drew praise from the Advocate and Lesbian News.
Google has a long history of support and inclusion as a gay friendly business, starting with “Gayglers,” an employee resource group that supports LGBT programs and policies throughout the company. Google also made headlines in 2010 when it expanded its coverage for same-sex partners to cover any taxes employees were expected to pay for partners’ health coverage.
Starbucks is another longtime advocate of equal rights, offering benefits to same-sex partners years before other companies did the same. CEO Howard Schultz took the company’s commitment even further, saying “it is not an economic decision to me. The lens in which we are making that decision is through the lens of our people. We employ over 200,000 people in this company, and we want to embrace diversity. Of all kinds.”
5. General Electric
GE has a huge, worldwide network of LGBT employees, the GLBTA (Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender & Ally) Alliance. In addition to offering equal benefits and an inclusive nondiscrimination policy, GE sponsors professional development, networking, educational and volunteer events through local chapters of the GLBTA. Each year, the GLBTA also holds a global meeting featuring workshops, panels, and events.
As recently as 2013, Target was in hot water for its contributions to anti-LGBT political candidates. Since then, the company has shifted its political spending and thrown support behind gay marriage, filing a brief in 2014 in support of marriage equality. In June 2015, Target made its support even more visible, launching a line of products under its #TakePride banner and supporting LGBT nonprofits.
Many of the largest oil and gas companies are woefully behind the times: ExxonMobil took until January 2015 to ban LGBT discrimination, and Valero Energy only managed to achieve 15 points in the HRC’s index. Chevron is the only major oil and gas company to buck this trend, receiving perfect scores for the past ten years and the 2014 Workplace Excellence Award from Out & Equal Workplace Advocates. Chevron has had an LGBT employee network since 1991, and has a record of adopting progressive policies decades before its competitors.
Be honest: when you think of gay friendly companies, Ford Motor Company probably doesn’t immediate cross your mind. But the company’s GLOBE Network for LGBT employees and support of equal rights earned it a perfect score on the Human Rights Campaign’s index. Ford supports local gay and lesbian groups in and around Detroit and advertises in LGBT publications, which lead a conservative group to call for a boycott of the company.
Gay Friendly Businesses
From household names to specialized industries, businesses are making strides to be inclusive. As more and more businesses adopt progressive policies and support gay friendly initiatives, the HRC’s index will continue to be a valuable tool to find out what companies are worth supporting, and which ones you’re better off without.