Open letter from Illinois business leaders on marriage equality

Screen Shot 2013-01-14 at 10.21.42 AMMany 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.

Signed,

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.

Google Inc.

Peter Gottlieb, President, North Star Investment Management Corporation

Groupon

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.

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