Outdoor clothier, outfitter Rei backs marriage equality


Rei, an outdoor clothier and outfitter, has joined the growing list of Washington-based companies endorsing marriage equality.

The governor, earlier this year, signed into law a bill legalizing same-sex marriage in Washington. The measure faces a veto threat in the Nov. 6 election.

On Aug. 13, REI president Sally Jewell issued a statement about her support for marriage equality and the company’s support through Washington United for Marriage.

“We are so proud to have REI take this powerful step in endorsing the freedom to marry and our effort to Approve Referendum 74,” said WUM campaign manager Zach Silk. ”REI is one of Washington’s iconic companies and it’s woven into many of our lives. Whether we’re on a day hike, paddling in a kayak, or pitching a tent with our kids, we’re generally doing it with gear we got at REI.  As a result, this endorsement will register with a lot of people and we’re very grateful to have REI’s support.”

Jewell, in the statement, said:

“REI is taking a position in support of marriage equality — an issue that is important to the co-op as an inclusive organization and a welcoming place to work and do business. A referendum on this issue will come before Washington State voters in November after passage through the Washington State Legislature earlier this year; marriage equality is also gaining momentum nationally. Why is this important to the co-op? Let me begin my answer with a personal perspective. A few weeks ago, my husband Warren and I celebrated our 34th wedding anniversary. We’ve been on a journey through life together since our first date on my 18th birthday, raising our two children, changing jobs, moving to various places, and witnessing the challenges and joys of our relationship and those of our parents, three of them through end-of-life.

“For heterosexual couples, it is very easy to take for granted the legal and societal benefits of marriage — health care benefits, retirement benefits, insurance, death benefits, healthcare decisions, child-rearing and custody, and many more, not to mention the meaning of the commitment of marriage that was so vivid to us as we introduced each other as husband or wife for the first time. As executrix of my mother’s estate, the legal benefits of marriage in estate and health issues became even clearer to me over the past year. Marriage equality is important to the co-op because the benefits, legal clarity and societal understanding that Warren and I have enjoyed these past 34 years should be available to any two people who want to express their love and make a permanent commitment to each other that is so clearly provided for in the legal definition of marriage.”

With annual sales of $1.8 Billion, REI has nearly 5 million co-op members nationwide and has been on Fortune’s Best Places to Work ranking every year since the inception of the list. REI has a history of environmental stewardship and is committed to “increasing access to outdoor recreative through volunteerism, gear donations and financial contributions.”

Other business supporters of Approve 74 and marriage equality include Nike, Starbucks, Amazon, Google, Microsoft, Alcoa, Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce and Vulcan.

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