Athletic footwear company New Balance, is distancing itself from recent news that its Chairman, James Davis, contributed $500,000 to Mitt Romney’s campaign for President.
Romney is one of four GOP hopefuls that have signed a pledge to the National Organization for Marriage (NOM) to oppose marriage equality.
Davis was revealed as a major donor to Romney’s campaign after a filing with the Federal Election Commission disclosed a number of Romney’s top supporters.
New Balance President and CEO Rob DeMartini, issued this statement, claiming the views of its Chairman are not the view of the company:
Earlier this year, a private donation was made by our Chairman to a political action committee that is affiliated with Mitt Romney. First, let me be clear that this was a private donation and not a contribution from New Balance. We encourage civic engagement at all levels and will always respect the right of any of our associates to engage in the political process as they see fit. We typically do not comment on private political donations; however, this situation is different.
Mr. Romney recently signed a pledge that challenges same sex marriage and that has offended many including those in the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community. Mr. Romney’s position on this issue is not reflective of Jim Davis’, my or New Balance’s position and support of the gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgendered community. As a company, New Balance embraces the differences in all people and we work tirelessly to create and sustain an environment where everyone – our associates, consumers, customers and guests – are treated with dignity and respect.
Romney, along with Michele Bachmann, Rick Santorum, and Time Pawlenty, signed the NOM’s “Marriage Vow,” which is purely anti-marriage equality, and commits candidates to supporting a federal marriage amendment to the Constitution that defines marriage as between one man and one woman.
The candidates have also pledged to defend the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) in court; appoint judges and an Attorney General who oppose same-sex marriage; and appoint a commission to investigate claims of harassment against supporters of traditional marriage.
A Change.org petition has been launched, asking New Blalance to “stop supporting anti-gay politicians.”
Marriott Hotels chairman and CEO, J.W. Marriott, and his brother Richard Marriott, chairman of Host Hotels and Resorts, also contributed $1 million — $500,000 each — to the pro-Romney political action committee.