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3 July 2015

A Historic Decision
By Richard Edelman

Written by: Richard Edelman, President and CEO at Edelman

Culture

The United States Supreme Court’s decision on marriage equality is a profound turn in the American culture wars. Edelman proudly joined 400 other companies in signing an amicus brief to the Court in support of equality. We also worked with Lambda Legal, the largest national LGBT legal organization to promote their mission in the fight for marriage equality.

Within hours of the historic decision Lambda Legal sent our team a note titled “A First:”

“Lambda has never gotten a victory out with the speed and muscle that we did with today’s historic win.  I know we’ll have a million misses today but on the day of our movements biggest advance, each of you and Edelman made sure the work of so many Lambda activists and advocates over the years was recognized.”

But the decision is only the beginning for business, in both the workplace and the consumer marketplace.

I was very pleased by the strong reaction by among others Salesforce, Microsoft, Hilton Worldwide, Pepsico, the NBA, Edelman and Eli Lilly to the proposed legislation in the State of Indiana that would have allowed retailers to discriminate against LGBT customers. But the need is well beyond public affairs and lobbying. We need to promote equality in the workplace. At Edelman, we have implemented Edelman Equal as a means of pushing forward with a diverse and empowered employee base. It is an employee affinity group that advocates on behalf of LGBT employees, it supports business objectives of our client base, and it builds community across our 65 offices. This is following in the successful footsteps of our GWEN initiative, which focuses on gender. The Out Now Global LGBT2020 study makes the business case for diversity and inclusion finding that U.S. business could save $9 billion a year if organizations were more effective at implementing diversity and inclusion policies for LGBT staff.

We are helping our clients reach into the LGBT community, whose spending power is estimated to be $884 billion in the U.S. alone.

As a family business, Edelman wants to push forward on social issues that matter. We took an early leadership stance on mental health and tolerance because of my mother’s depression. My father’s friendship with Rev. Jesse Jackson got us into civil rights. My brother John carries the torch now through the Edelman Foundation, our sustainability commitment and volunteer PR for dozens of local organizations. I am proud of the leadership displayed by Ben Boyd, president of our practices, sectors and offerings, on the LGBT issue.

This article originally appeared on Richard Edelman’s 6A.M. Blog.
Image by Rich Renomeron

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