Late this September, denim giant Levi Strauss & Co. joined the fight to help defeat Proposition 8, the initiative to amend the California constitution to ban same-sex marriage. The iconic San Francisco-based company, one of the oldest in the state and a national leader in progressive workplace practices, announced that it will co-chair the No on 8 Campaign Equality Business Council, along with Pacific Gas & Electric Group, a public utility.
As part of the effort to encourage others in the business community to fight Proposition 8, Levi Strauss & Co. will donate $25,000 to Equality for All, the coalition leading the campaign against Proposition 8. In addition, Robert Haas, the company’s chairman emeritus, and his wife have given $100,000. PG&E gave $250,000 to the campaign in July.
Levi Strauss brings a long history of support for civil rights, including its action to integrate its factories in California in the 1940s, and its 1992 step to become the first Fortune 500 company to extend health benefits to the unmarried partners of its employees. Last year, it was the only California company to file a brief with the state’s Supreme Court in support of same-sex marriage. The high court’s ruling in May to legalize same-sex marriage would be overturned if voters pass Proposition 8 in November.
By late September, according to the Los Angeles Times, supporters of the marriage ban had raised $17.8 million, while opponents had generated $12.4 million. Opponents hope that recent $100,000 contributions from actor Brad Pitt and director Steven Spielberg will inspire more players in the entertainment community to help defeat Proposition 8.
The latest Field Poll shows that 38 percent of likely voters support the marriage ban, while 55 percent plan to vote against it.