Sally Jewell, CEO and president of outdoor retailer REI, isn’t gay but she reflected on her own 34-year marriage to her husband in her decision to have the company take a position in favor of marriage equality in the state of Washington.
‘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 a blog post to the company’s approximately 11,000 employees this week.
REI’s position comes as the state of Washington heads toward a November vote on whether or not to affirm the marriage equality law passed by the state legislature and signed by the governor earlier this year. The pending vote has resulted in the law being put on hold.
REI was founded by a group of Pacific Northwest mountaineers in 1938.
Washington United for Marriage, one of the groups working to defend the marriage law, applauded REI and Jewell in a statement Tuesday (14 August).
“We are so proud to have REI take this powerful step in endorsing the freedom to marry and our effort to Approve Referendum 74,’ said WUM Campaign Manager Zach Silk. ‘REI is one of Washington’s iconic companies and it’s woven into many of our lives. Whether we’re on a day hike, paddling in a kayak, or pitching a tent with our kids, we’re generally doing it with gear we got at REI. As a result, this endorsement will register with a lot of people and we’re very grateful to have REI’s support.’