California | Gay Marriage | Meg Whitman | News | Proposition 8 | Supreme Court

Hewlett-Packard CEO Meg Whitman Explains Why She Changed Her Mind on Same-Sex Marriage

Hewlett-Packard CEO and former California gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman, who signed her name to an amicus brief being filed this week by more than 80 Republican lawmakers and political leaders, explained today in a LinkedIn post her decision to sign the brief opposing Proposition 8:

WhitmanI have come to embrace same-sex marriage after a period of careful review and reflection. As a candidate for governor three years ago, I supported Proposition 8. At the time, I believed the people of California had weighed in on this question and that overturning the will of the people was the wrong approach. The facts and arguments presented during the legal process since then have had a profound impact on my thinking.

In reviewing the amicus brief before deciding to put my signature on it, one passage struck an immediate chord with me. In explaining his own support for same-sex marriage, British Prime Minister David Cameron once said, “Society is stronger when we make vows to each other and support each other. So I don’t support gay marriage despite being a conservative. I support gay marriage because I am a conservative.”

During my business career, I have lived by a philosophy I refer to as “the power of many.” I truly believe that what we can do together, none of us can do alone. By leading from this principle, I have been able to manage thriving organizations that have delivered great results. I believe the same holds true for society at-large. We are simply better when we are bonded together.

Marriage is the fundamental institution that unites a society. It is the single greatest contributor to the well-being of adults and children because it promotes eternal principles like commitment, fidelity and stability. It makes no difference whether the marriage is between a man and woman or a woman and woman. Marriage makes society better.

Whitman also outlines the contents of the brief, and in justifying her change-of-mind cites President's Obama's decision to come around in support of marriage equality last year.

Continued, AFTER THE JUMP...

The core argument of the amicus brief is that there is no legitimate, fact-based reason for providing different legal treatment of committed relationships between same-sex couples. Without the presence of such a rationale, precedent should result in the U.S. Supreme Court overturning California’s ban on gay marriage.

The amicus brief argues that the oft-cited claims that civil marriage between same-sex couples will somehow hurt traditional marriage and be detrimental to children have been rejected by social science. Rather, we now know that children who grow up in intact, married families are much more likely to do well in school, achieve professional success and enjoy the benefits of stable, adult family lives.

In contrast, children who live with unmarried, cohabitating partners encounter significant challenges in their lives due to the higher separation rates of their parents and lower household incomes. Laws like California’s Proposition 8 do not fortify traditional marriage, they merely prevent hundreds of thousands of children of same-sex couples from enjoying the benefits that accrue from marriage.

Like several others who have either sought or held public office, including President Obama, I have changed my mind on this issue. Same-sex couples and their children should have equal access to the benefits of marriage.

My decision to support civil marriage is solely my own. I hope that the Supreme Court will heed the arguments in the amicus brief. Establishing a constitutional right of marriage equality in California will strengthen our nation as a whole.

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  1. To everyone who is criticizing her for changing her mind, let me remind you, Obama changed his position on the issue too. I welcome all the support we can get.

    Posted by: Ken | Feb 26, 2013 10:43:57 PM

  2. That was NOT her positon a few years ago. In fact she was anti-gay. So f*ck her and the post electoral horse she rode in on.

    It's very EASY to spew the pro-gay talking points when you don't have any skin in the game, isn't it? Where was that message when she was actually running for office?

    Posted by: Caliban | Feb 26, 2013 10:47:26 PM

  3. Another bigot suddenly realising she needs to be on the right side of history. Who cares, as long as the US fixes what's broken, & hurries with it too.

    Posted by: Leroy Laflamme | Feb 26, 2013 10:50:52 PM

  4. It's entirely plausible that Meg Whitman has had a change of heart in the past few years because a lot of people have. It wasn't until 2011 that Gallup's gay marriage poll had more responses for than against. And it wasn't until 2012 that gay marriage succeeded in a state referendum. A throng of people have changed their minds in only the last two or so years. She makes an excellent argument for gay marriage regardless.

    Posted by: Kyle | Feb 26, 2013 10:53:16 PM

  5. It is interesting that she seems to have changed her mind, at least as announced publicly, just after Jon Huntsman pointed out that opposing same-sex marriage was a losing position for the Republican party due to changes in public opinion.

    And it is not just her. A bunch of them have seen the handwriting on the wall and have noted that the handwriting is fabulous.

    Posted by: Bill | Feb 26, 2013 10:56:07 PM

  6. How many of these supporters of SSM just left jobs with the Romney campaign or another GOP presidential campaign that ran on a constitutional amendment banning SSM?

    Posted by: BobN | Feb 26, 2013 10:58:19 PM

  7. @Kyle: while it is possible that she "had a change of heart in the past few years because a lot of people have," don't forget that we seem to have 80 high-ranking Republicans who just made an announcement. The hypothesis that their opinions changed just like many others' opinions changed is testable: we can take the people who signed this brief and look at the percentage of them in favor of same-sex marriage (or at least opposed to Proposition Eight) as a function of time, and see if that tracks the percentage of the public in favor of same-sex marriage over time.

    That can determine if they were simply reacting like many others versus jumping on the bandwagon at the last minute.

    Posted by: Bill | Feb 26, 2013 11:05:45 PM

  8. "By leading from this principle, I have been able to manage thriving organizations that have delivered great results."

    Too bad HP ain't one of them.

    Meg Whitman is the definition of a hypocrite.

    Posted by: Guy | Feb 26, 2013 11:09:13 PM

  9. @Ken: Obama didn't change his position on Prop 8. He always opposed it. Meg supported it, which means she supporting stripping away civil rights already granted, which Obama didn't. Just to be clear--her "evolution" is a dramatic one. As always in these cases, whatever the reason for the change, all to the better, but you can never erase the shameful part of your historical record. You can only pledge to keep doing better.

    Posted by: Ernie | Feb 26, 2013 11:19:41 PM

  10. Ha! Maybe they flipped a coin? Hmmm...we must embrace gays or Mexicans, we must drag in new supporters.

    Posted by: bridget | Feb 26, 2013 11:56:19 PM

  11. Sure, Meg. I believe you. As if. You still want a political career and you know that being anti-gay marriage is a political career-killer in California. And that mealy-mouthed "I believed overturning the will of the people was wrong" BS merely means that you have no principles or moral foundation and act only out of political calculation and crass opportunism. These aren't exactly character plusses in your favor, lady.

    Posted by: Jim | Feb 27, 2013 12:15:23 AM

  12. Meg Whitman has the diplomatic skills of a steroid-abusing baboon. The one and only reason she changed her public stance on marriage equality is because even she could sense she was on the wrong side of history. When (not if) she's shown the door at HP, she might want to try her paws at politics again and had to get ahead of the matter.

    Posted by: Mark | Feb 27, 2013 2:22:34 AM

  13. "oh, yes, and because I'm a lesbian."

    Posted by: Michaelandfred | Feb 27, 2013 9:02:59 AM

  14. An opportunist taking advantage of another potential, political opportunity. Call me jaded but I don't buy these sudden epiphanies in the Republican party. They are desperate and will do whatever it takes to climb out of the abyss that is currently swallowing them whole. I'd rather walking to the edge and tramp on their fingers as they try to climb out of it.

    Posted by: Michael | Feb 27, 2013 10:01:14 AM

  15. Just received an email regarding this story on my LinkedIn account. This is what I signed up to hear? That some political quisling is backing the Homophiles in their bid to bastardize traditional marriage? Truth is, most homos would balk at the opportunity to get hitched. The push for marriage is all a part of the ruse to normalize deviant behavior. If straights accept their shameful lifestyle, it makes Homophiles feel better about themselves.

    They would rather stay single and promiscuous than locked into one relationship. In Denmark, a form of homosexual marriage has been legal since 1989. Through 1995, less than 5% of Danish homosexuals had gotten married, and 28% of these marriages had already ended in divorce or death.

    The National Institute of Health reports that the median age of death is less than 50 years for those involved in homosexuality. Might as well go out with a bang.

    John McKeller, President of Homosexuals Opposed to Pride Extremism (HOPE) has stated publicly he opposes gay activism and the "marriage" of two men (or two women) to be lawfully considered the same as the union of man and woman. Obviously McKeller holds no disfavor towards his own ilk, and this proves that the term "homophobe" is erroneous. The reality is that the gay rights movement is largely controlled by a minority of radical activists intent on subverting morality and sexuality, as well as the minds of the young. Thankfully, some Homophiles are willing to speak the truth.

    “We cannot deny that HIV is a gay disease. We have to own up to that and face up to that.” - National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Leader, Matt Foreman.

    Posted by: Maccalusso | Feb 28, 2013 5:45:54 AM

  16. If there is one thing I have learned in my 86 years on this planet, it is that ALL politicians say what they think voters want; not what they believe or do if elected.

    Posted by: Jerry6 | Feb 28, 2013 11:23:27 PM

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