TALKING TO CO-WORKERS: Marriage matters in Indiana too

Guest Blogger: Greg Disney-Britton

I climb telephone poles for AT&T, America’s number one phone company and I am just as proud of that as my non-gay co-workers. Also like my co-workers, I feel passionately about marriage. I am part of a work group in Indianapolis where all four members of our team are married, including me and we all talk about our spouses openly and with respect. Being the authentic me with my co-workers has made a big difference in my attitudes about work and it all started when I got married.

I was blessed to find the right man in my life after years of hoping, but we had to make a trip to Canada to be married. It was an awesome experience but it should not have been necessary because we should have had that right here in Indiana. However, if I had not taken the trip and had this special wedding in another country, I would never have realized how important marriage equality was to me and be able to share that with others.

That weekend, I was able to feel just like every other straight American feels on their wedding day. That feeling is so fresh in my heart and it makes me want to share it with everyone I meet. We ran into many couples on our special day in Niagara Falls, and we all wished one another well. They seemed to be all straight couples caught up in the joy of marriage. It was amazing!

I can understand Americans having a difference of opinion on the subject of marriage equality. What I can't understand is how anyone, straight or gay, thinks that marriage between a gay couple in America will make the marriage of a straight couple any less meaningful. The couples at Niagara Falls certainly didn’t and we shared in each other’s joy.

Before getting married, I didn’t talk much about being gay at work – my church, my weekend entertainment or the political issues impacting me as a gay man. Now, my co-workers hear about my real life every day just as I hear about the things that concern them. There are four of us guys on my team. We wear jeans and work-boots, and we are "the guys" called in for the big emergencies. We are a team, one gay and three non-gay, and we trust each other and respect one another’s marriages.

Yes, I climb telephone poles for AT&T but I’m also an openly “married man” with all my co-workers and that has made all the difference in the world. Thanks Marty, Ryan and Todd.

***Greg Disney works for AT&T and lives in Indianapolis. He and Tahlib were married on January 28, 2008.

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Demise of Same-Sex Weddings Disheartens Businesses

The New York Times
November 7, 2008
Many local business owners in Calif. are worried over the economic impact of Prop. 8's passage: "I have done a gay wedding every week. And so it's very disheartening, because other business is very slow." [Link]

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Tech Company Donations to ’No on 8’

EDGE Boston
November 4, 2008
Overall, consumers find it reassuring when a corporation shows some interest and commitment in social and political issues: it indicates a stake in the community. Said Loden, "More and more consumers are looking for companies that are helping their communities to thrive. Visibility on issues for social good can be beneficial to corporations." [Link]

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MTV Networks/Viacom Urge Voters to Reject Prop 8

October 25, 2008
MTV Networks/Viacom joined the growing number of business leaders signing onto the Equality Business Advisory Council to show their opposition to Proposition 8. [Link]

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Apple donates $100,000 to fight Calif. marriage ban

Los Angeles Times
October 24, 2008
The Cupertino, Calif.-based company said in a statement: "Apple was among the first California companies to offer equal rights and benefits to our employees' same-sex partners, and we strongly believe that a person's fundamental rights-- including the right to marry -- should not be affected by their sexual orientation. Apple views this as a civil rights issue, rather than just a political issue, and is therefore speaking out publicly against Proposition 8." [Link]

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EDITORIAL: Proposition 8’s defeat would be good for business

San Francisco Business Times
October 17, 2008
"To be sure, there is no escaping or mistaking the moral essence of this measure. For us, Prop. 8 fails this test badly: It is morally deficient to codify intolerance, and wrong to deprive certain citizens of basic rights on no higher grounds than the prejudice of others. But the presence among Prop. 8 detractors of major California companies like PG&E, AT&T, Google and Levi Strauss illustrates that this issue speaks to economics as well, if somewhat more quietly than to equity and civil liberty. Prop. 8 fails this test, too, pointing California toward a less promising future." [Link]
Read more about the economic impact of inequality.

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Study: Cost of domestic partner benefits could be limited

Government Executive
October 3, 2008
"The costs of expanding the benefits [for states] has been negligible; the process has been smooth; potential employees have been attracted by the benefits and current employees have been more inclined to remain; and providing the benefits has in turn lowered the cost of other social services, leading to net savings," authors Winnie Stachelberg, Josh Rosenthal and Claire Stein-Ross stated. [Link]
Read more social science findings.

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Our position on California’s No on 8 campaign

The Official Google Blog
September 26, 2008
"[W]hile there are many objections to this proposition -- further government encroachment on personal lives, ambiguously written text -- it is the chilling and discriminatory effect of the proposition on many of our employees that brings Google to publicly oppose Proposition 8." [Link]

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Levi’s joining to defeat Calif. anti-marriage initiative

Associated Press
September 25, 2008
Levi Strauss & Co. is putting its famous pockets behind defeating a ballot initiative that would end marriage for same-sex couples in California. (Link)

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Amendment 2 bad for South Florida business

Miami Herald
August 18, 2008
A proposed amendment to Florida's constitution on the November ballot could adversely impact our business development efforts. Florida Amendment 2, the so-called marriage protection amendment, is an example of unnecessary government intrusion in people's personal lives that could diminish Florida's ability to attract businesses to expand or relocate here. [Link]

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