In early 2012, the Greater Durham Chamber of Commerce was the first, and one of the only business organizations publicly to announce its opposition to the constitutional amendment which made it unlawful to recognize or perform same sex marriages and civil unions in North Carolina. (Chamber statement: http://durhamchamber.org/blog/chamber-takes-position-on-amendment-one ). The Chamber noted in particular that the constitutional amendment would have a negative impact on the state’s ability to attract and retain top-level companies and talent.
The Chamber’s goal is to strengthen the local economy for the benefit of all the citizens of Durham, and attracting top talent to the region is the first step in achieving that goal. Discriminatory policies are obstructions to talent attraction which undermine the Chamber’s ability to be effective in its economic development pursuits. Accordingly, the Supreme Court’s ruling will benefit the economy of Durham, and the State as a whole.
Durham is a diverse community that succeeds best when all of its citizens are fully included. Discrimination of any kind is inconsistent with Durham’s community ethos. “Support of marriage equality is the right thing to do, and doing the right thing is always good for business,” said Bill Brian, chair, Durham Chamber of Commerce. “As someone who lives and works in Durham, I recognize the important and productive role the LGBT community plays in Durham and the state as a whole, and I therefore join with that community in celebrating the recent Supreme Court ruling on same sex marriage.”