Back in July 2012, I posted a blog to let you know that Viacom had joined a broad group of employers to file an amicus brief in the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit challenging the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). Then in February 2013, a DOMA case out of the Second Circuit called United States v. Windsor went up to the Supreme Court. Once again, we joined an amicus brief calling for DOMA to be struck down as unconstitutional. In both cases, our briefs focused the courts on the perspective of employers. We told the Supreme Court: Read More
The panel was introduced. A silence fell over the room. A silence that, despite the potential ability to be an arbiter of awkwardness for the average person, was at present far from it. Because for the group at the front of the room, silence was an old friend.
And that’s exactly why they gathered there Wednesday, June 26, on a sunny afternoon at the CMT offices in Nashville – to discuss taking the steps away from that silence, and into the future of the workplace. The panel, appropriately titled “Open for Business” was a part of CMT’s way of celebrating National Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) Month, which occurs annually in June. Throughout the month, the LGBT community embraces speaking out on many different scales, with everything from large parades, to small community conversations and panels.
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:
When 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 Travis, Manager, Content Distribution and Marketing
Yesterday 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
Today’s Supreme Court ruling in United States v. Windsor striking down the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) as an unconstitutional deprivation of the equal liberty of all persons guaranteed by the Fifth Amendment is welcome and gratifying for our company – it’s the result we hoped for and worked to achieve. We’re very pleased that Viacom could play a role in ensuring that all Americans who marry have equal rights under the law. Our core values embrace a deep respect for diversity and inclusion, which includes the position we took in Windsor: if state law permits same-sex marriages, the federal government has no business impeding the rights and entitlements of such couples. As Viacom and 277 other employers said in the amicus brief submitted to the Supreme Court:
Viacom is proud of our diverse and inclusive global workforce that reflects the rich character of our audiences, our partners and our employees. We diligently work towards enhancing our own policies that encourage diversity and equality, and believe that we have a role to play in supporting important efforts to expand these values across the country and around the world. Read More