HRC Honors Goldman Sachs & Names CEO to Be Its Marriage Spokesperson as Activists Howl
The country’s largest LGBT rights organization has announced that Goldman Sachs’ CEO would be the group’s first national corporate spokesman for gay marriage.
The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) presented CEO and Chairman Lloyd Blankfein with its Corporate Equality Award at a dinner last weekend in New York City.
"Lloyd Blankfein is not someone average Americans would think is going to support marriage equality," Fred Sainz, an executive from HRC said. "The green visor crowd is not typically associated with socially progressive policies, and this is further proof that a diversity of Americans are coming to the same conclusion."
Blankfein has been the CEO and chairman of Goldman Sachs since 2006 and has supported marriage equality for sometime, the New York Times reported. Last year, Blankfein signed a letter that asked New York lawmakers to legalize same-sex marriage. Additionally, he personally called politicians to discuss the issue.
Although the investment company has been under intense scrutiny it has, however, been forward thinking when it comes to its LGBT employees. For example, it reimburses its workers for the extra taxes they pay on domestic partner benefits. In addition, in 2002 Goldman Sachs offered to pay for employees’ sex-change operations.
The partnership between a major human rights organization and a corporation that many see as having contributed directly to global financial instability has caused people on Wall Street as well as gay rights groups to raise their eyebrows. HRC has received criticism for their actions several times in the past. Some claim that the organization wants to be too much on the inside with important decision makers in Washington. Others would counter that HRC needs powerful allies -- and to be well funded. (As Jesse Unruh once said, "Money is the mother’s milk of politics.")
If HRC has been in close connection with the rich and powerful, is that a sellout or a consequence of wanting to have a voice among the people who (for better or worse) have direct influence over law and policy?
In New York, a demonstration outside the HRC dinner provided a dramatic contrast between those who work within the perceived status quo and those who reject it wholesale. A group called Queer Occupiers, an outgrowth of the Occupy Wall Street movement, held an Occupy Wall Street-type protest outside the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel during HRC’s Manhattan Gala honoring Blankfein and Goldman Sachs.