Target: New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli
Goal: Promote federal recognition of gay marriage
New York state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli has invoked the power of his state’s $160 billion dollar state pension system to compel President Barack Obama to federally recognize gay marriage. If he is successful, federal programs and agencies would recognize all gay marriages performed in New York. If the federal government embraces this “place of celebration” standard, all gay marriages performed in New York would be recognized in all states regardless of those states’ respective laws governing gay marriage. This idea would also catalyze DiNapoli’s attempt to get the companies that do business with the state pension system to embrace anti-discrimination provisions by bestowing gay couples benefits. DiNapoli should be commended for promoting gay marriage and advancing civil rights in a way that other state officials should emulate.
In June 2013 the U.S. Supreme Court struck down several provisions of the federal Defense of Marriage Act, which allowed states the ability to refuse to recognize same-sex marriage under state laws and thus refusing to recognize these couples as “spouses.” As a result, same-sex couples were denied federal marriage benefits granted to heterosexual couples. The recent decision, however, kept intact a provision that allowed the thirty seven states that do not recognize gay marriage to also not recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states. DiNapoli’s efforts if successful would further promote the advancement of human rights in the business sector by allowing same-sex couples to receive federal benefits that many companies usually only grant to heterosexual couples.
DiNapoli is the only trustee of the New York state pension fund and has often used it to convince companies to implement environmental protections, to unveil campaign donations, and oppose terrorism. Beyond the promotion of civil rights, DiNapoli asserts that the recognition of gay marriage would be good business. Companies that discriminate against employees because of their sexual orientation by excluding certain employee benefits hinders their ability to recruit and keep the best employees. Such discriminatory practices would hurt the pension fund’s investment in those companies. Most companies invoke federal law when defining marriage and granting benefits. Please sign this petition to commend and support DiNapoli’s efforts to promote gay rights in the business sector as well as throughout the nation.
Dear Thomas DiNapoli,
We applaud your efforts to push for the federal recognition of gay rights using you state pension fund as leverage. If successful, you will set a standard for other states to follow in which the thirty seven states that do not recognize gay marriage would have to recognize those marriages performed in New York. Furthermore, companies doing business with your state pension fund would have to grant same-sex couples the federal benefits that heterosexual couples receive.
Your efforts would further promote social equity when it comes to gay rights following in the footsteps of the Supreme Court’s recent decision to strike down parts of the federal Defense of Marriage Act. Because a provision in the Defense of Marriage Act enables the states that do not recognize gay marriage to also not recognize same-sex marriages performed elsewhere, your efforts will mark a big step towards social justice for same-sex couples. We commend you for what you are doing in the name of human rights.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Vivienne Gucwa via flickr.com