April 28, 2009

By Roey Gilberg

LOS ANGELES -- As the issue of same-sex marriage continues to play a prominent role in the American political scene, its impact on other aspects of society is increasingly being examined as well. This topic took center stage at UCLA Anderson in a panel discussion titled "The Legal and Business Impact of Extending Marriage, Civil Unions, and Domestic Partnerships to Same-Sex Couples," held in Korn Convocation Hall on April 22, 2009.

The session, jointly presented by the Williams Institute, UCLA Anderson, and the UCLA School of Law, was moderated by Brad Sears, Executive Director of the Williams Institute. Anderson's Dean Judy Olian introduced the discussion, and additional welcoming remarks were given by Dean Michael Schill of the School of Law, who noted the "growing relationship" between the two schools, as exemplified by the event. The panel featured Sears; Gary Gates, a senior research fellow at the Williams Institute; Lee Badgett, research director at the Williams Institute; Margaret Shih, associate professor in Human Resources and Organizational Behavior at Anderson; Dean Hansell, a partner at Dewey & Lebouef, LLP; and Kim Congdon, regional vice president of Human Resources for Time Warner Cable's West Region.

While the spotlight on same-sex marriage was positioned squarely over California during November's election - with the hotly contested Proposition 8 ultimately passing - the issue continues to receive attention in various other states. Before giving way to the other panelists, Sears began with a brief overview of the current legal status of same-sex couples around the country, and the differences from state to state.

Gates then discussed the demographics of same-sex couples in the U.S., noting various nationwide trends. He pointed out that while same-sex couples are concentrated on the coasts, the Midwest and South have a higher percentage of same-sex couples that are raising children.

Badgett examined the economic costs and benefits of legalizing same-sex marriage, as well as the general economic impact. After presenting facts and figures covering a wide range of affected aspects, including employee benefits and tax effects, she concluded that same-sex marriage is an overall boon for businesses and the economy. Hansell was more specific, as he discussed the implications of Proposition 8 for California businesses in terms of their personnel policies. He concurred with Badgett, noting that California's businesses, such as Google, face difficulties in employee recruitment and retention when there are preferable legal environments in other states.

Shih discussed minority experiences in organizations, and the positive implications of organizational diversity. She pointed out that firms benefit from having an inclusive environment in many ways, including the psychological impact on employees. Congdon detailed Time Warner Cable's actions toward providing employee benefits for all domestic partnerships within its organization. Touching on the main theme of the evening's discussion, she stressed that from the standpoint of businesses and the economy, an "all-inclusive" approach is beneficial and vital.

About UCLA Anderson School of Management
UCLA Anderson School of Management, established in 1935, is regarded among the leading business schools in the world. UCLA Anderson faculty members are renowned for their teaching excellence and research in advancing management thinking. Each year, UCLA Anderson provides management education to more than 1,700 students enrolled in MBA, Executive MBA, Fully-Employed MBA and doctoral programs, and to more than 2,000 professional managers through executive education programs. Combining highly selective admissions, varied and innovative learning programs, and a world-wide network of 36,000 alumni, UCLA Anderson develops and prepares global leaders.

Media Relations