Outdoor Retailer REI Supports Marriage Equality

By Lauren Jow

Originally published on Advocate.com August 13 2012 7:35 PM ET

Outdoor retailer REI has thrown its support behind marriage equality, according to a press release from Washington United for Marriage, a coalition working to defend the state’s same-sex marriage law.

CEO and President Sally Jewell announced the endorsement today in a blog post to the corporation’s 11,000 employees. REI has made Fortune’s list of 100 Best Companies to Work For every year since the list was created in 1998.

“Marriage equality is important to the co-op because the benefits, legal clarity and societal understanding that Warren and I have enjoyed these past 34 years should be available to any two people who want to express their love and make a permanent commitment to each other that is so clearly provided for in the legal definition of marriage,” Jewell wrote in the blog post.

The Washington-based corporation joins the ranks of other leading business including Nike, Starbucks, Amazon, Google and Microsoft who have announced their support of Referendum 74, an initiative that would uphold the state’s same-sex marriage law if voters approve it in November.

Washington legalized same-sex marriage in February, and the law was set to take effect in early June. Just a day before, opponents turned in enough signatures to qualify Referendum 74 for the ballot.

Washington United for Marriage has raised more than $5 million to campaign to approve the referendum, while same-sex marriage opponent Preserve Marriage Washington has only raised more than $253,000.

“Sixteen years from now, when I expect to be celebrating my 50th wedding anniversary, I sincerely hope that there will be millions more of a new generation for whom 50 years of marriage will become a possibility through these changes in our legal system,” Jewell wrote in the blog post.