The US Supreme Court met Wednesday to hear arguments against the Defense of Marriage Act or DOMA, which limits the definition of marriage to explicitly exclude same-sex couples. The Supreme Court signaled in the first day of hearings that it was unlikely to issue a sweeping ruling that would declare same-sex marriage a constitutional right, but the proceedings are heating up the topic of equality for all without regard to sexual orientation. In a gesture of support, many people are publicizing their stance on gay marriage (you probably noticed the red equal-signs on Facebook recently).
Companies are getting in on the action too. Last week at Starbucks' annual meeting, CEO, Howard Schultz, told shareholders to sell their stock and invest elsewhere if they had any issue with the company's stance on marriage equality. When asked about disappointing first-quarter performance following a company boycott by the National Organization for Marriage, Schultz responded "If you feel, respectfully, that you can get a higher return than the 38 percent you got last year, it's a free country. You can sell your shares of Starbucks and buy shares in another company. Thank you very much."
So far 278 employers, from Zynga to JetBlue have signed on to oppose the Defense of Marriage Act. Employers argue the act is not only in bad taste, but that equal marriage rights are good for business, especially from an administrative standpoint.
Business Section: Investing Ideas
Many investors have long gone about avoiding stocks that trade weapons, cigarettes or prisons due to moral positions, but that universe has widened to consider more ESG (environmental and social governance) concerns. This is especially true for younger investors who are paving the way for the future of trading.
More than ever investors want to see their money going towards socially responsible companies that reflect their values as a way to support causes through stock trading. This ranges from supporting gay rights to erecting solar panels on the firm's properties or funding cancer research.
Understandably, companies must be very careful where they land on hot-button issues as not to deter certain customers, or in order to attract new crowds.
With that in mind we list here 8 companies pulled from Queeried list of 10 Pro Gay Companies (2 are not publicly traded). Queeried writes that these "companies have all shown their support for equal rights for all via political activism, fund-raising and equal rights and benefits for same sex partners of their employees."
Here they are, with the comments from the original post. Use Kapitall's tools to help analyze these firms and decide if these pro-gay companies have a place in your socially conscious portfolio!
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1. American Apparel, Inc. (APP, Earnings, Analysts, Financials): Engages in the manufacture, distribution, and retail of fashion basic apparel for women, men, children, and babies. Market cap at $255.01M, most recent closing price at $2.37.Another Californian company putting it’s support behind the repeal of Proposition 8, American Apparel went very public with it’s support producing a Legalize Gay T-shirt in 2008 for protestors. Overwhelmed by the response of the tee American Apparel went on to sell it in stores and online even though they were met with protests for doing so. Like Levi’s the guys at American Apparel have also continued with their support of the LGBT community offering two new gay rights tees as part of their new library range.
2. Nike Inc. (NKE, Earnings, Analysts, Financials): Designs, develops, and markets footwear, apparel, equipment, and accessory products for men, women, and children worldwide. Market cap at $53.59B, most recent closing price at $59.47.Going on record in support of Referendum 71 in Washington, Nike have made a very clear statement that they are in support of equal rights for all. In the past they have also shown their willingness to listen to and support the views of the LGBT community by shelving an advertising campaign after there were complaints that it was sending out anti-gay messages.
3. Microsoft Corporation (MSFT, Earnings, Analysts, Financials): Develops, licenses, and supports a range of software products and services for various computing devices worldwide. Market cap at $235.88B, most recent closing price at $28.16.Another company that received some criticism from the LGBT community in the past, Microsoft recently made it’s position on gay rights crystal clear by donating $100,000 to Washington Families Standing Together in support of Referendum 71. Bill Gates, the chairman, and Steven A Ballmer, the chief executive also showed their personal support with additional contributions.
4. Apple Inc. (AAPL, Earnings, Analysts, Financials): Designs, manufactures, and markets personal computers, mobile communication and media devices, and portable digital music players, as well as sells related software, services, peripherals, networking solutions, and third-party digital content and applications worldwide. Market cap at $433.04B, most recent closing price at $461.14.Speaking out in support of gay marriage and opposing Proposition 8, Apple put it’s money where it’s mouth was donating $100,000 to the No on Prop 8 campaign, and also like Levi’s shows it’s support through the benefits it offers start which includes equal rights and benefits to their employees’ same sex partners.
5. Google Inc. (GOOG, Earnings, Analysts, Financials): Google is the world's most popular search engine. Market cap at $267.82B, most recent closing price at $812.42.Not a company usually known for speaking out on social issues, Google made the unusual step to do just that last September, releasing a statement stating that “while there are many objections to this proposition – further government encroachment on personal lives, ambiguously written text – it is the chilling and discriminatory effect of the proposition on many of our employees that brings Google to publicly oppose Proposition 8.” Alongside this Sergey Brin and Larry Page, the founders of Google, also donated $140,000 to the No campaign.
6. Starbucks Corporation (SBUX, Earnings, Analysts, Financials): Operates approximately 16,858 stores, including 8,833 company-operated stores and 8,025 licensed stores. Market cap at $42.75B, most recent closing price at $57.05.Calling for the approval of Referendum 71 Starbucks are another company showing their support for gay rights, and whilst they haven’t donated to the campaign in the same way as Microsoft have, they have been long term supporters of the LGBT community featuring a pro-gay message by Armistead Maupin on their coffee cups back in 2005.
7. Boeing Co. (BA, Earnings, Analysts, Financials): Engages in the design, development, manufacture, sale, and support of commercial jetliners, military aircraft, satellites, missile defense, human space flight, and launch systems and services worldwide. Market cap at $65.6B, most recent closing price at $86.62.Standing alongside Starbucks, Nike and Microsoft in their support of Referendum 71, Boeing, the commercial airline manufacturer has shown that it is in full support of equal rights for gays and lesbians..
8. International Business Machines Corp. (IBM, Earnings, Analysts, Financials): Provides information technology (IT) products and services worldwide. Market cap at $236.68B, most recent closing price at $212.36.Constantly finding itself at the top of gay friendly employee lists, IBM has worked hard to make its work environment an inclusive one, offering health benefits to it’s employees’ same sex partners and also having an anti discrimination clause. And it’s definitely not just all talk with the Human Rights Campaign having rated IBM 100% on it’s gay friendly index since 2003, and IBM winning over 40 LGBT awards globally.
(Written by Malarie Knox)
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Dig Deeper: Access Company Snapshots, Charts, FilingsAmerican Apparel, Inc. (APP, Chart, Download SEC Filings) Nike Inc. (NKE, Chart, Download SEC Filings) Microsoft Corporation (MSFT, Chart, Download SEC Filings) Apple Inc. (AAPL, Chart, Download SEC Filings) Google Inc. (GOOG, Chart, Download SEC Filings) Starbucks Corporation (SBUX, Chart, Download SEC Filings) Boeing Co. (BA, Chart, Download SEC Filings) International Business Machines Corp. (IBM, Chart, Download SEC Filings)
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