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Looking for some camping our other outdoor equipment? Maybe give Recreational Equipment Inc. (REI), an outdoor retailer organized as a consumer co-op, a look-see. Aside from looking pretty awesome in general, they've added their name to the list of influential companies that support Referendum 74, the ballot measure that will affirm the marriage equality law recently passed in Washington.

This is what Sally Jewell, CEO and President of REI, had to say in a recent blog post:

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.
She did not stop there--she went on to talk about her own marriage and the importance of the rights and benefits the institution of marriage provides. In addition, she talked about why this position in support of equality is important to the company as a whole.

It's a pretty strong statement:

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.

Well there you go.

REI has also been listed by the Environmental Protection Agency as one of the top 10 retailers that purchase green power. In 2006, the company bought 11 million kilowatt hours of green power, offsetting 20% of its overall consumption. Additionally, from REI's website:

Each year, REI donates millions of dollars to support conservation efforts nationwide and sends dedicated teams of volunteers—members, customers and REI employees—to build trails, clean up beaches, restore local habitats and more.... Through responsible business practices across the company, we strive to reduce our environmental footprint.
All the reason I'll need to shop at REI if I need anything outdoors-related. Not that I'll need much, considering how little time I spend outdoors. But I'm sure I can find an item or two. This is definitely one of the good guys.

Originally posted to Chrislove on Tue Aug 14, 2012 at 12:46 PM PDT.

Also republished by Angry Gays, Milk Men And Women, LGBT Kos Community, and Kossacks for Marriage Equality.

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