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Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Nike Kicks More Than a Quarter Million to the Same-Sex Marriage Fight

Posted by Dirk VanderHart on Tue, Nov 19, 2013 at 7:03 PM

If anyone's got a few bucks to throw around, it's Nike. Sometimes, that money goes toward appalling third-world abuses. Other times, toward human rights initiatives on the home front.

Today, at least, the news involves the latter. Nike's given $280,000 to Oregon United for Marriage, the group pushing a constitutional amendment legalizing same sex marriage for the November 2014 ballot. A newly created Nike Equality PAC (political action committee) reportedly snagged donations of $100,000 and $180,000 from the company and its executives, respectively.

The contribution, which doesn't yet appear in online campaign finance records, amounts to more than half all the other money the group's raised to-date. The donation also isn't much of a surprise. Nike supported last year's same-sex marriage push in Washington State, and signed onto two briefs in the Supreme Court case that defanged the federal Defense of Marriage Act and California's Proposition 8.

Nonetheless: Good show.

From a news release:

Nike has a long history of supporting equality. It was one of the first companies nearly 20 years ago to extend benefits to partners of either gender. In 2000, the company extended those benefits to the dependents of domestic partners.

In 2005, Nike was a national business trailblazer in supporting Oregon’s groundbreaking legislation to secure employment non-discrimination for the LGBT community and civil unions for same sex partners. In 2007, Nike built an Oregon business coalition to help successfully pass the state-level non-discrimination and civil unions legislation.

Nike has been a long-time supporter of federal employment non-discrimination legislation, and was also one of the lead companies to sign onto the business community amicus brief earlier this year before the US Supreme Court supporting the end of federal marriage discrimination and enabling recognition of same-sex civil marriage at the U.S. federal government level.

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