Business-Letter-04112013-Final by twincities

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									April 11, 2013


Governor Mark Dayton
130 State Capitol
75 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd
Saint Paul, MN 55155

Speaker of the House Paul Thissen
463 State Office Building
100 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr Blvd
Saint Paul, MN 55155

Majority Leader Tom Bakk
226 State Capitol
75 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd
Saint Paul, MN 55155



Dear Governor Dayton, Speaker Paul Thissen and Majority Leader Tom Bakk:


For the past two decades, our nation has debated the freedom to marry for same-sex couples. The data available
today suggests that Minnesota and the rest of the country are moving on a journey toward the freedom to marry
for same-sex couples. A few examples of this momentum include:


    •   The tide of public opinion has continuously moved toward supporting the freedom to marry. Today, 58
        percent of all adult Americans think same-sex marriage should be legal, according to a March 2013 ABC
        News-Washington Post survey. Among young people, the survey found 81 percent support same-sex
        marriage. The highly-regarded Pew Research Center, in a survey conducted at about the same time, also
        found strong support for same-sex marriage. Two other points from the Pew survey are particularly
        noteworthy:
         According to Pew, “The long-term shift in the public’s views about same-sex marriage is
            unambiguous.” The most recent survey found that about 1-in-7 Americans have changed their opinion
            and now favor same-sex marriage.
         The survey also found that two-thirds of Americans (66 percent) agree that same-sex couples should
            have the same legal rights as heterosexual couples; just 30 percent disagree.


    •   Recent public votes on the issue show further the electorate’s growing support, including Minnesota’s
        first-in-the-country rejection of a constitutional amendment limiting the definition of marriage. Maine,
        Maryland and Washington voted in 2012 to legalize marriage for same-sex couples.


    •   Additionally, actions by legislative bodies in very diverse states assure that full equality will be the
        ultimate destination. Today, marriage is legal in nine states as well as Washington, D.C. At least four
        states, including Minnesota, appear to be poised to address the issue legislatively in 2013.

The only remaining question is how long it will take us to arrive.
As Minnesota business people, we strongly believe that it is in our state’s long-term best interests for the
Legislature to ensure that all Minnesotans have the same freedom to marry the person they love by approving full
marriage equality in 2013. Supporting the freedom to marry is the right thing to do. It also is smart business.


The business case for equality and inclusion is compelling:

•   Discrimination is bad for business. A welcoming state is essential to recruiting and retaining the best young
    talent. Minnesota employers have known this for years. Minnesota’s largest and most successful companies
    have been the nation’s leaders in creating diverse workplaces and extending family benefits to domestic
    partners. This leadership has made our community a strong magnet for attracting and retaining the nation’s
    top talent – not just gay and lesbian professionals, but today’s educated young workers who increasingly say
    that living in welcoming communities is important.

•   Uncertainty undermines business planning. Uncertainty is inefficient and expensive. Consider the challenges
    of our multi-state and multi-national employers who increasingly will have to sort out a patchwork of state
    and federal laws affecting marriage. Yes, even if the Minnesota Legislature grants marriage equality this year,
    laws won’t be uniform across the country. But action this year gives Minnesota businesses the opportunity to
    start planning for the equality that is certain to come.

•   Marriage inequality makes some of our employees second-class citizens. Turnover and a loss of productivity
    are two of the consequences that come when some employees are denied rights that most of us take for
    granted, including family issues and end-of-life decisions among many others. Workplace policies aren’t a
    replacement for equal rights under the law.


We also believe there is a political urgency to granting the freedom to marry to same-sex couples this year.
Minnesota is at a critical crossroads on many issues, including taxes, spending and regulatory reform. These are
complicated issues that deserve the time and attention of the legislature, this year and for years to come. Decisions
affecting the economic future of all Minnesotans shouldn’t be held hostage to a single issue that has the potential
to dominate and disrupt legislative sessions for years to come.


Marriage equality is not on the legislative agenda simply because Minnesota voters soundly defeated the
constitutional amendment which sought to limit the definition of marriage in November. That vote may have
accelerated legislative consideration of the issue, but it would have arrived at the Capitol sooner rather than later
with or without last fall’s vote. This choice is before you now because it is the right thing to do, for our employees
and their families, for our companies’ business success and for the economic prosperity of all Minnesotans.


We urge the legislature to reaffirm Minnesota’s leadership in equality and economic opportunity by passing
legislation in 2013 that ensures gay and lesbian Minnesotans, at long last, have the freedom to marry the person
they love.
Sincerely,



                                                                      	
                                              	
                                                                                           	
  
Michael	
  V.	
  Ciresi	
                                                    Michelle	
  Courtright	
                                                      Angie	
  Craig	
  


                                                        	
                                                     	
                                                               	
  
Charles	
  M.	
  Denny,	
  Jr.	
                                             Jim	
  Frey	
                                                                 Eric	
  Frost	
  


                                                               	
                                                                     	
                                               	
  
Bill	
  George	
                                                             Alan	
  L.	
  Goldbloom,	
  MD	
                                              Jim	
  Graves	
  


                                   	
                                                                                          	
                                                                    	
  
Amy	
  Langer	
                                                              Dick	
  McFarland	
                                                           Mary	
  K.	
  Murray	
  

                                          	
                                                                                                        	
               	
  
Brock	
  Nelson	
                                                            Marilyn	
  Carlson	
  Nelson	
                                                Wendy	
  Nelson	
  

                     	
                                                                                                                      	
                                                                           	
  
Tad	
  Piper	
                                                               James	
  Pohlad	
                                                             Robert	
  Pohlad	
  


                                                 	
                                                     	
                                                                                                  	
  
William	
  Pohlad	
                                                          Laurie	
  Savran	
                                                            Scott	
  Schneweis	
  


                	
                                                                                         	
                                                                                 	
  
Doug	
  Spong	
                                                              Dan	
  Starks	
                                                               Mike	
  Sweeney	
  



                            	
                                               	
                                         	
  
John	
  Taft	
                                                               Wing	
  Witthuhn	
                                                            	
  



CC:          Members of the Minnesota House of Representatives
             Members of the Minnesota Senate

								
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