Business letter backs same-sex marriage bill

Twenty-six business leaders are speaking out in support of legislation to legalize same-sex marriage in Minnesota.

They made their case for the measure in a letter sent today to Gov. Mark Dayton, House Speaker Paul Thissen and Senate Majority Leader Tom Bakk, and copied to all legislators. In it, the executives pointed to evidence of shifting public opinion in favor of gay marriage, and what they view as the inevitablity of its legalization.

They also stressed economic benefits:

"Discrimination is bad for business. A welcoming state is essential to recruiting and retaining the best young talent. Minnesota employeers have know this for years."

The letter also raised concerns about employees:

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"Marriage inequality makes some of our employees second-class citizens. Turnover and a loss of productivity are two of the consequences that come when some employees are denied rights that most of us take for granted, including family issues and end-of-life decisions among many others."

The signers of the letter: Michael V. Ciresi, Michelle Courtright, Angie Craig, Charles M. Denny Jr., Jim Frey, Eric Frost, Bill George, Alan Goldbloom MD, Jim Graves, Amy Langer, Dick McFarland, Mary. K. Murray, Brock Nelson, Marilyn Carlson Nelson, Wendy Nelson, Tad Piper, James Pohlad, Robert Pohlad, William Pohlad, Laurie Savran, Scott Schneweis, Doug Spong, Dan Starks, Mike Sweeney, John Taft and Wing Witthuhn.

Jake Loesch, a spokesman for the group Minnesotans United, said he thinks the letter carries some weight.

"These are some very well-known business folks," Loesch said. "I think they can speak across the aisle to both Democrats and Republicans about why this is important."

Minnesotans United letter to Gov. Mark Dayton