Open letter from Illinois business leaders on marriage equality
Many factors go into creating a state’s business environment. Perhaps most important is a state’s ability to attract top talent from around the world. Since
Many factors go into creating a state’s business environment. Perhaps most important is a state’s ability to attract top talent from around the world. Since human capital drives innovation and growth, a state must foster an environment where people want to live.
To be competitive, a state must create an equitable, fair and respectful environment for all of its citizens. For this reason – among others — it is vitally important that Illinois lawmakers enact marriage equality soon.
Marriage equality would strengthen the workforces of Illinois employers, who know there is no substitute for employees with diverse backgrounds and experiences. Companies must understand a changing marketplace and be able to connect with their customers; having a diverse workforce is a part of that. That’s one reason many employers have adopted non-discrimination policies and offer domestic partner benefits.
Marriage equality promotes economic development, too. According to the UCLA School of Law’s Williams Institute, allowing same-sex couples to marry would generate between $39 million and $72 million in revenues for Illinois businesses, creating $4.5 million to $8 million in new sales and lodging tax revenues over three years.
The American people are increasingly supportive of marriage equality, with a majority believing same-sex couples should be allowed to marry. We agree with them. States with the metro areas of New York City, Seattle, Boston, and Baltimore have already legalized marriage equality. Here in the Midwest, Iowa has granted full marriage equality, while Minnesota is poised to do the same later this year. Illinois simply cannot afford to be less competitive than other states.
The Illinois legislature should act now. It’s the right thing for Illinois.
Curt Bailey, President, Related Midwest
Andrew Bluhm, Founder and Principal, Delaware Street Capital
Neil G. Bluhm, Founder and Managing Principal, Walton Street Capital
Norm Bobins, Former CEO, LaSalle Bank; Chairman, PrivateBank and Trust Co.
Bill Brandt, President and CEO, Development Specialists, Inc.
Carole Brown, Senior Managing Director, Barclays Capital
Lewis B. Campbell, Chairman and CEO, Navistar International
Chicago Urban League
Lance Chody, CEO, Garrett Popcorn Shops
Philip B. Clement, Global Chief Marketing and Communications Officer, Aon plc
Hon. William M. Daley
Laura Desmond, CEO, Starcom Mediavest Group
Fred Eychaner, Chairman, Newsweb Corporation
Paul S. Fisher, President and CEO, CenterPoint Properties
Albert M. Friedman, CEO and President, Friedman Properties, Ltd.
Peter Gottlieb, President, North Star Investment Management Corporation
David A. Helfand, CEO, Helix Funds
Carrie Hightman, Executive Vice President and Chief Legal Officer, NiSource Inc.
Mellody Hobson, President, Ariel Investments, LLC
Fred Hoch, CEO, Illinois Technology Association
Mark S. Hoplamazian, President and CEO, Hyatt Hotels Corporation
Kym Hubbard, CIO and Treasurer, Ernst & Young
Ron Huberman, Executive Chair, TransitPro Logistics, Inc.
Illinois Science & Technology Coalition
Knight Engineers & Architects
William Lawless, President, The Gage & Henri Restaurants
Joseph Mansueto, Founder and CEO, Morningstar Inc.
Matt Moog, Founder and Chairman, Built In Chicago
Maura O’Hara, Executive Director, IVCA
Orbitz Worldwide Inc.
Sarah Pang, Senior Vice President, Corporate
Richard S. Price, Chairman and CEO, Mesirow Financial
Quintin E. Primo III, Chairman and CEO, Capri Capital Partners, LLC
J.B. Pritzker, Co-Founder and Co-Lead, The Pritzker Group
Gigi Pritzker Pucker, OddLot Entertainment
Doug Regan, Midwest Regional Director, J.P. Morgan
Judith C. Rice, Senior Vice President, BMO Harris Bank
Laura Ricketts, Director, Chicago Cubs, Chairman of the Board, Chicago Cubs Charities
Desiree Rogers, CEO, Johnson Publishing Company
John W. Rogers, Jr., Chairman and CEO, Ariel Investments, LLC
John W. Rowe, Chairman Emeritus, Exelon Corporation
Michael Sacks, CEO, Grosvenor Capital Management, L.P.
Harrison I. Steans, Chairman of the Executive Committee, Financial Investments Corp.
Jay Stieber, Executive Vice President and General Counsel, Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises, Inc.
Rich Stoddart, President, Leo Burnett North America
Tribeca Flashpoint Media Arts Academy
Estelle Walgreen, Founder, Hispanically Speaking News
Tony Weisman, Regional President, Digitas
Communications and Public Affairs, CNA Financial Corp.
*Individuals listed as signatories represent themselves only.