CEO of The Good Feet Store on Why Same-Sex Marriage Protections Are Good for Business

This week, President Joe Biden is expected to sign into law the landmark Respect for Marriage Act, which enshrines protections for same-sex and interracial marriage under federal law.

The bipartisan legislation was passed by the U.S. House of Representatives last week and by the Senate in late November. It will require that all 50 states recognize these unions, even those from other states.

That nationwide scope is an important aspect of the law, explains Richard Moore, CEO of The Good Feet Store, a retail franchise with more than 216 locations across the U.S.

“The Good Feet Store runs a national organization with hundreds of employees, and many of those often have the opportunity for career advancements and growth opportunities in different states,” Moore told FN. “While these milestones should be celebrated, many times unfortunately, LGBTQ+ families often fear having to move to different states that have traditionally not respected their rights.”

On a more personal note, Moore, who took over leadership of The Good Feet Store in 2020, said, “As a married gay man with four children, it is critical to me and my family that no matter which state we live in, we are protected to love freely.”

He added that as a leader he’s committed to fostering an inclusive and supportive environment. “It is of utmost importance to me that as a company we do everything we can to support all families, no matter their sexual orientation,” said Moore. “From our benefits, time-off policies, and culture — being both an ally and parent is fundamental, and The Good Feet Store stands behind parents and families of any kind.”

Last week, Macy’s Inc. chairman and CEO Jeff Gennette — one of only a handful of openly gay Fortune 500 CEOs — issued a similarly supportive statement. “My husband and I are heartened by the congressional bipartisan approval of the Respect for Marriage Act and we’re grateful for the work of the Human Rights Campaign and others to protect the rights and privileges of millions so every one is equal in the eyes of the law,” Gennette stated.

Meanwhile, REI Co-op highlighted the need to take more action to support the LGBTQ+ community.

“REI Co-op applauds the passage of the Respect for Marriage Act, which mandates federal recognition for same-sex and interracial marriages,” the company said in a public message. “The LGBTQ+ community has been facing an increased assault over the past few years as some state legislatures and courts have taken actions to strip basic rights.”

In 2015, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of legalized same-sex marriage, and interracial unions have been legal in the U.S. since 1967. However, the court’s recent decision to repeal Roe v. Wade — which overturned women’s constitutional rights to an abortion — fueled fear among many in the LGBTQ+ community that marriage equality could be at risk as well, especially after Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas raised the prospect of overturning those and other rights in a concurring opinion in the abortion case this summer.

Moore applauded the work that went into passing this latest legislation. “As Americans, we often look at our politicians in a negative light — but I believe the politicians who were behind this particular act are ones to be celebrated,” he said.

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