Business leaders come out in support of gay marriage in Illinois
By Manya Brachear
7:34 p.m. CST, January 13, 2013
Dozens of Illinois business leaders and several companies publicly endorsed gay marriage Sunday in an attempt to reignite the issue after a proposed bill failed to get traction in Springfield this month.
State lawmakers aren't scheduled to be at the Capitol much until early February, and sponsors of a measure to grant gay and lesbian couples the freedom to marry are likely to need some time to win over dozens of rookie colleagues. But in an open letter issued Sunday, business executives stated their case to lawmakers that marriage equality would strengthen the Illinois workforce and boost economic development.
"To be competitive, a state must create an equitable, fair and respectful environment for all of its citizens," the letter said. "For this reason — among others — it is vitally important that Illinois lawmakers enact marriage equality soon."
In addition to Google, Orbitz Worldwide and Groupon, individual signers of the letter include Desiree Rogers, CEO of Johnson Publishing Co.; Lance Chody, CEO of Garrett Popcorn Shops; Fred Eychaner, chairman of the Newsweb Corp.; and Laura Ricketts, co-owner of the Chicago Cubs. Eychaner and Ricketts are openly gay executives who are helping fund the statewide push for same-sex marriage, the Tribune has reported.