Nike Inc. has recently created a political action committee with the goal of extending marriage rights to gay couples in Oregon. Statesman Journal reports that the Oregon-based company has already raised $280,000 in support of the Freedom to Marry and Religious Protection Initiative, a proposed 2014 ballot measure that would bring marriage equality to the state.
"Nike is fully supportive of the initiative to create marriage equality so all our employees are treated fairly and with respect in the workplace and the community," according to the Nike Equality PAC website. "We believe that diversity drives innovation, and allows us to attract and retain world class talent. For Oregon businesses to attract and retain the best talent, we need fair and equitable laws that treat all Oregonians equally and prevent discrimination."
The PAC will give employees a specific avenue to support efforts, such as the Oregon United for Marriage campaign, that are directly related to winning marriage equality for the state. The Portland Business Journal notes that the company donated $100,000 to start the PAC, with its executives donating the remaining $180,000.
"Nike has just stood up for marriage equality in an unprecedented way, with a monumental financial contribution to support the Freedom to Marry and Religious Protection Initiative," said Mike Marshall, campaign manager for Oregon United for Marriage. "Nike has been a leader for marriage equality, and this incredible move puts Nike out front among Oregon businesses who are taking a stand for winning the freedom to marry for Oregon's same-sex couples. We are so proud and grateful for their generous support."
Nearly 20 years ago, Nike was one of the first companies to extend benefits to same-sex couples. In 2011, Nike was one of the 60 companies that filed an amicus brief opposing DOMA.