Several entertainment industry giants, including Disney, Sony, Comcast NBCUniversal, and Apple, have signed an open letter spearheaded by the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) that expresses support for codifying LGBTQ+ marriage rights into law. Other signatories include the likes of Amazon and Google.
The letter — signed by 173 companies — urges the Senate to pass the Respect for Marriage Act (known formally as H.R. 8404 in the House and S. 4556 in the Senate) which would repeal the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). DOMA defines marriage, for federal purposes, as the union of one man and one woman, and provides states the ability to refuse to recognize same-sex marriages enacted under law in other states.
The HRC’s efforts to gather support for the proposed new bill comes in the wake of concerns — legitimized by suggestions made in Justice Clarence Thomas’ concurring opinion in the Dobbs ruling — that the Supreme Court, having overturned Roe v. Wade, will next turn its attention to rolling back other progressive rulings, such as United States v. Windsor (2013), which invalidated much of DOMA and how it could be enforced.
As The Hollywood Reporter notes, Disney throwing its weight behind calls for LGBTQ+ rights protections is notable following prolonged criticism of the media company’s response, or rather lack thereof, to Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” bill earlier this year. Not only did the company make donations to representatives who supported and passed the bill, it also initially did not release any public statements on the impact the bill could have in the state that houses The Walt Disney World Resort. As such, this is one of the first major public stances the company has taken in support of LGBTQ+ rights since the employee walkouts, complaints lodged, and social media callouts from famous figures that ensued in March.
The letter argues, “Codifying a consistent and inclusive federal standard conferred by the Loving, Windsor, and Obergefell rulings will help to ensure marriage equality, eliminate confusion for employers, and enable us to retain and attract talent. No person, including same-sex couples and interracial couples protected by this bill, should fear their marriage will not be recognized by the federal government or their employment benefits threatened.”
You can read the full letter and see the complete list of signatories here.