Post submitted by Limor Finkel, Former HRC Global Engagement Program Coordinator
Today, Marriott International President and CEO, Arne Sorenson, released a statement recognizing the importance of discussing LGBT rights among international business leaders. More specifically, Sorenson pointed to the historic breakfast discussion organized in-part by the Human Rights Campaign at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland earlier this year.
The first panel of the morning featured three LGBT advocates from around the world—Masha Gessen of Russia, Dane Lewis of Jamaica, and Alice Nkom of Cameroon—and the following discussion included HRC President Chad Griffin, Elliot Management Corporation founder Paul Singer, and Third Point LLC founder Dan Loeb. The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, gave opening remarks and Fareed Zakaria of CNN and TIME moderated the conversation.
Sorenson remarked that while the LGBT community has made significant strides in the United States, “There remains more to do, especially for those of us aiming to be global business leaders, in hospitality and any other sector.” He continued, “I am encouraged to see a growing peer group of American business heavy-hitters in industries ranging from manufacturing to tech now taking part in substantive discussion on LGBT rights. CEOs—not just diversity officers—need to be engaged on these issues, and to promote further dialogue and education among their executives.”
Marriott International and Sorenson have been leaders in promoting LGBT rights in the business community in the United States—from signing on to a business-coalition brief urging the Supreme Court to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) in 2013 to scoring a 100% on HRC’s Corporate Equality Index (CEI) since 2008.