Hoping to nudge stalled legislation that would legalize gay marriage in Illinois, a group of business leaders on Sunday framed their argument around this simple notion: It’s a smart business decision.
Local industry titans cited the ability to recruit top talent as a top reason to pass the legislation.
Attached to an open letter stating their common views were dozens of influential names, including: Neil G. Bluhm, founder and managing principal of Walton Street Capital, Mellody Hobson, president of Ariel Investments, J.B. Pritzker, co-founder of The Pritzker Group, and Laura Ricketts, co-owner of the Chicago Cubs.
In addition to the 43 individuals signing the letter, six companies and agencies also signed it, including Orbitz Worldwide and Groupon, both based in Chicago.
“Not to trivialize this, but to be sort of a throw back state that hasn’t figured out that this is a material incentive ... it leaves us at a competitive disadvantage,” said Howard Tullman, president and CEO of Tribeca Flashpoint Media Arts Academy, who also endorsed the letter.
Marriage equality would promote a diverse workforce better able to connect with customers and would ultimately create a fair and competitive environment, the letter stated.
It also contends that places like New York, where gay marriage is legal, have a competitive edge over Illinois.
“It is vitally important that Illinois lawmakers enact marriage equality soon,” the letter states.
Others who signed the letter are:
Chicago Urban League.
Illinois Science & Technology Coalition.
Knight Engineers & Architects.
Curt Bailey, president, Related Midwest.
Andrew Bluhm, founder and principal, Delaware Street Capital.
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