Nike launches PAC to support marriage equality campaign in Oregon


PORTLAND, Ore. – Oregon-based Nike, Inc., on Tuesday announced it had formed the Nike Equality PAC, a foundation to raise money in support of marriage equality.

The political action committee launches with $280,000 donated toward the effort — a $100,000 contribution from Nike, and another $180,000 from Nike executives.

Nike“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,” says 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,” he said.

Nike Equality PAC will work with Oregon United for Marriage, the campaign set up by initiative-backer Basic Rights Oregon, the state’s major gay rights lobby, on how best to support the initiative and spend PAC money, reports The Oregonian.

“We chose to set up the Nike Equality PAC so Nike had an avenue to support campaign efforts that are directly related to winning marriage equality in Oregon,” said Nike spokeswoman Mary Remuzzi, in a statement.

Nike has a long history of supporting equality. It was one of the first companies nearly 20 years ago to extend benefits to partners of either gender. In 2000, the company extended those benefits to the dependents of domestic partners.

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In 2005, Nike was a national business trailblazer in supporting Oregon’s groundbreaking legislation to secure employment non-discrimination for the LGBT community and civil unions for same sex partners.

In 2007, Nike built an Oregon business coalition to help successfully pass the state-level non-discrimination and civil unions legislation.

Nike has also been a long-time supporter of federal employment non-discrimination legislation, and was also one of the lead companies to sign onto the business community amicus brief earlier this year before the U.S. Supreme Court supporting the end of federal marriage discrimination and enabling recognition of same-sex civil marriage at the U.S. federal government level.

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