American and United Airlines Back Supreme Court Decision on Marriage Equality

American and United Airlines released statements this morning after the U.S. Supreme Court extended full marriage rights to same-sex couples regardless of their state of residence. The airlines backed the decision and reaffirmed their support of the LGBT community.

Earlier this year, American joined a coalition of U.S. corporations that filed a brief to the Supreme Court supporting marriage equality. The airline also signed a public statement led by the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) to prompt businesses to uphold diversity.

American Airlines is recognized by HRC’s corporate equality index, which rates companies based on their inclusion of LGBT employees. The airline started American’s Pride Employee Business Resource Group to advocate for the airline’s employees, including LGBT workers. American Airlines has since received a perfect score on the index, which began ranking businesses in 2002.

“This is a historic moment for our country and for many of American’s employees,” said Doug Parker, CEO and chairman of American Airlines,  in a statement. “Today’s decision reaffirms the commitment of companies like American that recognize equality is good for business and society as a whole.”

United Airlines showed support for the ruling in favor of same-sex marriage. It released a statement this morning: “Today’s historic ruling is a long-awaited victory for all those who chose to take a stand for marriage equality, and we applaud the Supreme Court for affording same-sex couples the respect and dignity they deserve under the law. At United, we foster an inclusive culture where employees are accepted, valued and treated fairly, and we remain committed to proudly serving the diverse customers who fly with us.”

The airline was also part of the amicus brief urging the Supreme Court to uphold marriage equality. United Airlines offers several workplace programs that promote diversity and inclusion of LGBT employees. Its business resource group, Equal, is expanding to several of United’s hub cities. United also partners with leading LGBT groups, including National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce, Equality Illinois, and International Gay and Lesbian Travel Association.

The Supreme Court ruling—a 5 to 4 vote—came after decades of litigation and activism. In the last decade, the nation’s public opinion has greatly shifted on marriage equality. A Gallup poll taken last month indicates 60 percent of Americans believe gay marriage should be valid, while 37 percent disagree.

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