Corporate America’s Evolution on LGBT Rights

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The New Yorker
By Richard Socarides
April 27, 2015

Twenty years ago, when I was working as a White House special assistant in Bill Clinton’s public-liaison office, one of my jobs was to rally support for the President’s initiatives. We often focussed on enlisting business leaders, among whom the President had many supporters, thanks in part to the country’s robust economy. When I tried, however, to get C.E.O.s to endorse Clinton’s gay-rights initiatives, which included expanding protections against employment discrimination and hate crimes, as well as appointing gays to positions requiring confirmation by the U.S. Senate, I got very few takers. Just getting executives to a meeting about gay rights was a challenge, even though they generally liked being invited to the White House. I remember one event, in particular, for which the best we could do was get a producer, who was gay himself, to represent the business community. The entertainment industry was, at the time, the only business that wanted anything to do with gay rights.

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