Sporting goods and camping retailer
Recreational Equipment Inc., REI, has endorsed gay marriage and in
particular Referendum 74, the ballot question which will ask
Washington state voters in November to either uphold or overturn a
gay marriage law approved by lawmakers.
“REI is taking a position in support
of marriage equality – an issue that is important to the co-op as
an inclusive organization and a welcoming place to work and do
business,” REI President Sally Jewell said in a statement.
“Why is this important to the co-op?
Let me begin my answer with a personal perspective. A few weeks ago,
my husband Warren and I celebrated our 34th wedding anniversary.
We've been on a journey through life together since our first date on
my 18th birthday, raising our two children, changing jobs, moving to
various places, and witnessing the challenges and joys of our
relationship and those of our parents, three of them through
“For heterosexual couples, it is very
easy to take for granted the legal and societal benefits of marriage
– health care benefits, retirement benefits, insurance, death
benefits, healthcare decisions, child-rearing and custody, and many
more, not to mention the meaning of the commitment of marriage that
was so vivid to us as we introduced each other as husband or wife for
the first time. As executrix of my mother's estate, the legal
benefits of marriage in estate and health issues became even clearer
to me over the past year. 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.”
The Kent-based retailer maintains 110
stores in about 30 states.