[Vision2020] Java & Justice

Art Deco art.deco.studios at gmail.com
Tue Feb 7 07:21:30 PST 2012

  [image: The New York Times] <http://www.nytimes.com/>

February 6, 2012
Java and Justice By FRANK

If you’re among the fair-minded Americans who believe that two men or two
women should be able to wed, there’s an easy though slightly caloric way to
express that. Get a caramel macchiato. Maybe make it a venti. Then get
another tomorrow.

you see, is under fire for its public
the same-sex
that recently passed the State Senate in Washington, where the
company has its headquarters. That legislation is expected to clear the
House as well and be signed by Gov. Christine
the next few weeks. Washington would become the seventh state in which
such marriages are legal.

The Christian conservatives who have been trying to stop that aren’t
pleased. They’re involved in an effort to gather enough signatures to
suspend the law’s implementation until a voter referendum can be held. In
the meantime, Steven Andrew, the president of USA Christian Ministries, has
called for a national boycott of the coffee chain, saying that while its
executives “can follow Satan if they want to,” God-fearing Americans
shouldn’t join them on that caffeinated road to hell.

I mention Starbucks not so much to rally to its defense as to make a point
about same-sex marriage, enacted in New
June and now under serious consideration in Maryland, Maine and New
Jersey. It’s the future. And the response of corporate behemoths based in
the state of Washington reflects that.

In addition to Starbucks,
Amazon spoke
same-sex marriage. All have surely taken note of several polls over
last year suggesting — for the first time — that a slight majority of
Americans supports it. All have no doubt taken even greater note of a
generational divide. In a Gallup
70 percent of people in the 18-to-34 age range favored same-sex marriage,
while only 39 percent of people 55 and older did.

More so than politicians, corporations play the long game, trying to
engender loyalty for decades to come, and they’re famously fixated on
consumers in their 20s and 30s.

They see support for same-sex marriage as a winner, something that will
help with employee recruitment as well. On Microsoft’s in-house blog last
month, the company’s general counsel, Brad Smith,
backing of the Washington legislation in part by noting “an
unprecedented national and global competition for top talent.” Microsoft,
he said, doesn’t want to lose potential recruits to states with fairer

Corporate recognition of a rapidly changing world isn’t limited to the
coasts or to companies widely considered progressive. While J.C.
based in Plano, Tex., hasn’t waded into the same-sex marriage debate, it
recently hired as a pitchwoman Ellen DeGeneres, an outspoken advocate of
gay rights who is married to the actress Portia de Rossi. On Friday, in the
face of pushback from (you guessed it) Christian conservatives, it
commitment to her. DeGeneres is also a
pitchwoman <http://www.covergirl.com/talent/ellen-degeneres> for CoverGirl

A growing number of politicians presumed to have sights on higher offices
and elections down the road seem to read the trend lines and tea leaves the
same way companies do.

Andrew M. Cuomo, the New York governor, didn’t just assent to marriage
equality. He led the charge for it, guaranteeing that it would be a
cornerstone of his gubernatorial legacy. Gov. Martin O’Malley of Maryland,
the chairman of the Democratic Governors Association, is following suit. He
devoted parts of his State of the State
an appeal for marriage equality, and has tweeted about it repeatedly.

The issue plays out in quieter ways, too. In Washington, final-hours
support came from State Senator Brian Hatfield, a Democrat who considers
himself a devout Christian and who said in a statement that he “went as far
as to ask God for a sign.” It came, he said, in an e-mail he got from
former State Representative Betty Sue Morris, a fellow Democrat, who
recounted how much she regretted a vote she cast against same-sex marriage
in 1996 — and why.

She shared her story with me on the phone on Monday. “In December of 1998,”
began Morris, 70, who then started crying. “Excuse me. I just remember it
so vividly. My beautiful daughter, Annie, was home for Christmas, and she
told us that she was gay.”

In the days that followed, Morris said, she remembered her vote and “felt
like I had denied her something. A wholeness. A freedom.”

“Here’s this precious child that you love and you care for,” she added.
“You don’t want to be a part of making them grieve for anything.”

As it happens, she said, Annie didn’t even remember the vote. Now 47, she
lives in California and married her longtime partner in 2008, just
before Proposition
the state’s short-lived same-sex marriage law. The Ninth Circuit
Court of Appeals is expected to rule imminently on the proposition’s

Morris told me: “Whenever someone opposes this, I always counsel: you never
know. You never know when it will be your child or your grandchild. And you
will eat your words.”


Art Deco (Wayne A. Fox)
art.deco.studios at gmail.com
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