The US Supreme Court met this week to hear arguments against the Defense of Marriage Act or DOMA, which limits the definition of marriage to explicitly exclude same-sex couples. The Supreme Court signaled in the first day of hearings that it was unlikely to issue a sweeping ruling that would declare same-sex marriage a constitutional right, but the proceedings are heating up the topic of equality for all without regard to sexual orientation. In a gesture of support, many people are publicizing their stance on gay marriage (you probably noticed the red equal-signs on Facebook recently).
Companies are getting in on the action too. Last week at Starbucks' annual meeting, CEO, Howard Schultz, told shareholders to sell their stock and invest elsewhere if they had any issue with the company's stance on marriage equality. When asked about disappointing first-quarter performance following a company boycott by the National Organization for Marriage, Schultz responded "If you feel, respectfully, that you can get a higher return than the 38 percent you got last year, it's a free country. You can sell your shares of Starbucks and buy shares in another company. Thank you very much."
So far 278 employers, from Zynga to JetBlue have signed on to oppose the Defense of Marriage Act. Employers argue the act is not only in bad taste, but that equal marriage rights are good for business, especially from an administrative standpoint.
Business Section: Investing Ideas
Many investors have been known to avoid stocks that trade weapons, cigarettes or prisons due to moral positions, but that universe has widened to consider more ESG (environmental and social governance) concerns. This is especially true for younger investors who are paving the way for the future of trading.
More than ever investors want to see their money going towards socially responsible companies that reflect their values as a way to support causes through stock trading. This ranges from supporting gay rights to erecting solar panels on the firm's properties or funding cancer research.
Understandably, companies must be very careful where they land on hot-button issues as not to deter certain customers, or in order to attract new crowds.
With that in mind we list here 8 publicly traded companies pulled from Queeried list of Pro Gay Companies. Queeried writes that these "companies have all shown their support for equal rights for all via political activism, fund-raising and equal rights and benefits for same sex partners of their employees."
Here they are, with the summarized comments from the original post. Use Kapitall's tools to help analyze these firms and decide if these pro-gay companies have a place in your portfolio.1. American Apparel, Inc. ( APP): Engages in the manufacture, distribution, and retail of fashion basic apparel for women, men, children, and babies. Market cap at $255.01M, most recent closing price at $2.37. This LA-based company not only supported the repeal of Proposition 8, but also produced a Legalize Gay T-shirt in 2008 for protestors. Thousands of requests for the tee prompted American Apparel to make it available in stores and online, and today they have an entire line of clothing for the cause.
2. Nike Inc. ( NKE): Designs, develops, and markets footwear, apparel, equipment, and accessory products for men, women, and children worldwide. Market cap at $53.59B, most recent closing price at $59.47.After complaints from the LGBT community over perceived anti-gay messages in an advertising campaign, Nike responded by pulling the ads. Nike also went on record to support Referendum 71 in Washington, making a clear statement in support of equal rights for all. 3. Microsoft Corporation ( MSFT): Develops, licenses, and supports a range of software products and services for various computing devices worldwide. Market cap at $235.88B, most recent closing price at $28.16. Despite past criticism from the LGBT community, Microsoft donated $100,000 to Washington Families Standing Together in support of Referendum 71. Chairman, Bill Gates, and CEO, Steven A Ballmer showed their personal support with additional contributions. 4. Apple Inc. ( AAPL): Designs, manufactures, and markets personal computers, mobile communication and media devices, and portable digital music players, as well as sells related software, services, peripherals, networking solutions, and third-party digital content and applications worldwide. Market cap at $433.04B, most recent closing price at $461.14. After speaking out in support of gay marriage and opposing Proposition 8, Apple put its money where its mouth was by donating $100,000 to the No on Prop 8 campaign. Apple also began offering benefits to their employees' same sex partners. 5. Google Inc. ( GOOG): Google is the world's most popular search engine. Market cap at $267.82B, most recent closing price at $812.42. Despite their reputation for staying silent on social issues, Google released a statement opposing Proposition 8. Founders, Sergey Brin and Larry Page also donated $140,000 to the No campaign. 6. Starbucks Corporation ( SBUX): Operates approximately 16,858 stores, including 8,833 company-operated stores and 8,025 licensed stores. Market cap at $42.75B, most recent closing price at $57.05. Starbucks' support for the LGBT community goes as far back as 2005 when they featured a pro-gay quote by Armistead Maupin on their coffee cups. They also called for the approval of Referendum 71.
7. Boeing Co. ( BA): Engages in the design, development, manufacture, sale, and support of commercial jetliners, military aircraft, satellites, missile defense, human space flight, and launch systems and services worldwide. Market cap at $65.6B, most recent closing price at $86.62.Standing alongside Starbucks, Nike, and Microsoft in support of Referendum 71, Boeing has shown full support of equal rights for gays and lesbians. 8. International Business Machines Corp. ( IBM): Provides information technology (IT) products and services worldwide. Market cap at $236.68B, most recent closing price at $212.36.0 IBM has worked hard to make its work environment inclusive, offering health benefits to its employees' same sex partners and adding an anti discrimination clause. The Human Rights Campaign acknowledged these efforts by placing IBM at the top of its Corporate Equality Index since 2003. - Malarie Knox, Kapitall