Voice for Equality: Jim Kolbe

Jim Kolbe is a former eleven-term U.S. Congressman from Arizona’s 8th district and current fellow at the German Marshall Fund think thank. He was educated at both Northwestern and Stanford Universities before taking a position as special assistant to the Illinois Governor while in the U.S. Navy. Following his military service, Jim moved to Tucson, Arizona where he worked as an executive in the private sector. In 1976, Kolbe was elected to the Arizona State Senate and in 1984 he was elected to the position of U.S. Congressman for Southern Arizona; he remains the only Republican to have held that office.

He was a prominent moderate Republican during his 22 years in Congress and served as the Chair of the Subcommittee on Foreign Operations, Export Financing, and Related Programs of the House Appropriations Committee. Congressman Kolbe came out publicly in 1996 under threats of outing during deliberations over DOMA. He was only the second openly gay Republican U.S. Congressman and the first to win reelection. In 2000, Kolbe became the first openly gay person to address the Republican National Convention.

Kolbe recently said in support of marriage equality:
"As much as the social conservatives might not like to hear it, there will be a time when your grandchildren say: ‘What was the argument with gay marriage? Who cares?"
Freedom to Marry salutes Congressman Jim Kolbe as a Voice for Equality!

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Voice For Equality: Jordan Roth

Jordan Roth is Vice President of Jujamcyn Theaters, which owns and operates five Broadway theaters and is the producer of the hit revival of "Hair."

In addition to his work on the Freedom to Marry Steering Committee , Jordan serves on the boards of GMHC and Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS.

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Voice for Equality: Bernard Whitman


Media commentator and president of Whitman Insight Strategies, Bernard Whitman spoke out for marriage equality in a column in Forbes on April 28, 2008. A frequent commentator on MSNBC, CNN and Fox News, his firm conducts public opinion polling for companies, politicians and advocacy groups. In his column, Whitman gave a short history lesson on how the marriage movement developed and concluded with “At the end of the day, marriage equality will come: partly through the courts; partly through the legislative process. More and more community and political leaders will offer their support, and someday soon gays and lesbians all across America will be able to choose get married, or not. Which side of this history do you want to be on?”

We thank Heather nominating Bernard Whitman as a Voice for Equality.

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Voice for Equality: B. Smith

Restaurant owner B. Smith is a pioneer in the lifestyle category whose talents and expertise span a wide range of specialties.

In addition to launching a chain of restaurants, she possesses a unique ability to merge cultures through a shared appreciation for style. Smith regularly offers advice to television and radio audiences, reaching others as an author.

B. Smith and her husband, Dan Gasby have also been quick to embrace the gay community and have told more than a few of their guests about their strong support for marriage equality.


Freedom to Marry thanks Spencer Crew for nominating B. Smith as a Voice for Equality!


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Voice for Equality: Dolores Huerta

Dolores Huert is the current President of the Dolores Huerta Foundation for Community Organizing. She co-founded the United Farm Workers (UFW) with Cesar Chavez and holds the emeritus positions of the UFW as Secretary Treasurer and First Vice President. She is also an active member of the Fund for the Feminist Majority and serves on the Board of Directors for Equality California (EQCA).

Huerta was the keynote speaker at the January 2009 "Creating Change" conference of LGBT-rights activists in Denver, Colorado, where she spoke on the importance of marriage equality and gay rights.

Greg Disney-Britton met her during the 2009 Creating Change Conference and nominated Dolores Huerta as a Voice for Equality.

 

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Voice for Equality: Sergey Brin

Russian-born Brin co-founded Google, Inc., the world's largest internet company. He serves as Google's President of Technology and is one of the world's 35 richest people.

Brin's Google joined Silicon Valley tech giants Apple and Adobe in condemning California's Proposition 8. On behalf of Google, Brin wrote,
"While we respect the strongly-held beliefs that people have on both sides of this argument, we see this fundamentally as an issue of equality. We hope that California voters will vote no on Proposition 8-- we should not eliminate anyone's fundamental rights, whatever their sexuality, to marry the person they love."
Google's statement is particularly notable since the company rarely takes a position on social or political issues.

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Voice for Equality: Steve Jobs

Steve Jobs’ company Apple Inc. released a statement in October 2008 opposing Proposition 8 and donating $100,000 to the No on 8 campaign. Said Apple, “[We] strongly believe that a person’s fundamental rights — including the right to marry — should not be affected by their sexual orientation.”

Apple’s statement coincided with similar statements from technology giants Google and Adobe. Co-founder, Chairman, and CEO of Apple Inc., a company known for its innovative Macintosh computers, OS X operating system, and the digital music revolution. Jobs is also a co-founder of Pixar Animation Studios and serves on the board of directors for the Walt Disney Company.

Ben Bernard nominated Steve Jobs, Apple computers in Silicon Valley to be a Voice for Equality. Thanks Ben.

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Voice for Equality: Ward Connerly

Thanks for our next nomination for Voices for Equality: Ward Connerly.

Businessman and conservative hero, Ward Connerly was a leader in opposing affirmative action policies in the state as the chairman of the 1995 California Civil Rights Initiative (Proposition 209).

Connerly publicly opposed California's Proposition 8 in 2008, and specifically argued that marriage is a civil rights issue. "For anyone to say that this is an issue for people who are gay and that this isn't about civil rights is sadly mistaken. If you really believe in freedom and limited government, to be intellectually consistent and honest you have to oppose efforts of the majority to impose their will on people," he said.

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Voice for Equality: Bruce Bastian

Business leader Bruce Bastian of Utah is a Voice for Equality.

Raised Mormon, Bastian has been a strong supporter of social justice and marriage equality and was a major contributor to the "No on Proposition 8" campaign. In December 2008, Bastian wrote a popular piece for The Huffington Post blog, clarifying the Latter-day Saint's Church's role in passion Proposition 8.

Founder of WordPerfect Software Company and programmer of early word processing programs, Bastian's net worth has been estimated to be over $800 million. His philanthropic foundation, the B.W. Bastian Foundation, "funds programs and organizations that benefit, encourage, and preserve the rights of individuals and promotes equality [marriage equality] for the gay and lesbian community." Bastian is also a board member of the Human Rights Campaign.

Thanks Ben Bernard for this nomination.

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