SEE YA, DOMA! Reactions From Across Viacom

by Mark Jafar, Viacom

The Supreme Court’s decision today to strike down the Defense of Marriage Act was met with cheers and tears, hugs and high fives across Viacom.

When the ruling came down, several members of Emerge, Viacom’s LGBT employee affinity group, were in a breakfast meeting with Philippe Dauman, Viacom’s President and CEO.  Dauman regularly holds breakfast meetings with employee groups to discuss the company issues of the day, particularly in regards to diversity and inclusion.

We also caught up with several of those members of Emerge afterward for their reactions to today’s historic decision:

BrandonWhen we all heard the news this morning, the whole conference room cheered.  I know that we have a long way to go toward full marriage equality, but this was a very important milestone, and I am so proud of the community and those who have fought so hard.

– Brandon Grabowski, Senior Manager, Shopper Insights, Nickelodeon Research and co-chair of Emerge




Today is a fantastic day for the LGBT community.  So very happy for all my friends whose marriages will now be recognized on the federal level. This is a huge step in the right direction. I am also very proud that I am able to share this moment at work and have the ability to be so open about it since Viacom is such an inclusive work environment. Amazing day. 

– Michael Armstrong, Associate Producer, Ad Sales Production, Viacom Music Group, and co-chair of Emerge, pictured at left with Edie Windsor, the plaintiff who challenged the federal law





SHANNON_TRAVISThis is a truly exciting time for the LGBT community because now our marriages will be recognized nationally pushing us closer to equal rights!

– Shannon Travis, Manager, Content Distribution and Marketing





RickandMattYesterday my husband and I celebrated our third wedding anniversary.  On our first anniversary, the NY state legislature voted to pass marriage equality.  This year, although a day after our anniversary, the Supreme Court ruled that DOMA is unconstitutional.  I couldn’t be prouder to be a part of this time in history, and the dates of these significant landmarks in gay history will always share a special meaning to me and my husband.


-Matthew Vidal, Senior Counsel, Business and Legal Affairs, Nickelodeon Digital Media, pictured above (left) with his husband Rick

We also reached out to Viacom employees in California for reactions, and received a quick reply from Lee Rosenthal, President of Physical Production for Paramount Pictures:

My husband Paul and I got married five years ago, during the brief window when it was legal in California, and we’ll celebrate twenty years of being together next month.  These milestones are even sweeter knowing that our marriage is recognized by the federal government.  Viacom was ahead of the Supreme Court on this one, offering comprehensive benefits to employees with same-sex partners for many years.  Not to mention, Viacom publicly opposed DOMA.  I am really proud to work at a company that takes a stand on social justice issues.

If you’re a Viacom employee and would like to share your thoughts on today’s news for inclusion in this post, please send them our way at!

Finally, we’d be remiss if we didn’t mention that Emerge is hosting a celebratory cupcake party tomorrow for employees in The Lodge, our venerable corporate cafeteria.


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