Gay Marriage: Why Are Wall Street and the Koch Brothers Pro-Equality Now?


Since 2008, the opinion about Wall Street hasn't exactly been positive. Numerous rumors and stories about cronyism and political favors from D.C. have tarnished the reputation of the U.S.' financial heart.

However, the reputation might brighten up a little thanks to the same-sex marriage debate. Indeed, leading equity trader for Goldman Sachs, R. Martin Chavez, denounces the discriminatory immigration laws — mainly because of DOMA, which states that Washington only recognizes heterosexual unions, which make it hell for companies such as his from hiring gay and lesbian (LGBT) employees who marry foreigners because of all the problems it involves. M. Chavez, a U.S. citizen, wanted to either be moved to London or retire because his wedding to his life partner impeded the process to obtain his student visa (he finally obtained it, after much hardship).

In fact, Goldman Sachs is only one among several companies fighting to end discrimination against LGBT, especially regarding immigration. Out on the Street, “ the first LGBT leadership organization for Wall Street, by Wall Street,” which includes companies such as Morgan Stanley, Citi and Barclays, has joined forces with Immigration Equality in order to push a bill in Congress that would end discrimination for LGBT seeking family-based immigration benefits. This would be a sure way to “end the brain drain they face due to immigration laws that discriminate against their LGBT employees.”

The Libertarian Allies

Along with Wall Street, libertarians are probably the best allies one can expect to positively influence the debate on same-sex marriage even if silly rumors run around them. The Koch brothers, for example, are accused of undermining democracy like no other. And yet, not only did they financially supported same-sex marriage in New York State and fought against the Patriot Act, but they now support same-sex marriage on the federal level, going against the Republican Party they usually support.

Being libertarians — in favor of small government, this Koch endorsement is quite logical, and it shows in several places where they channel their money. Reason Magazine, part of the Reason Foundation they sponsor, regularly writes about the (lack of) reasons anti-gay marriage people use. It even makes a constitutional case against DOMA The Cato Institute, a think-tank also sponsored by the Koch brothers, is a staunch defender of the right for LGBT to marry, making a constitutional case for it too. According to chairman Robert Levy, marriage is a private matter and the State has no business giving privileges (with taxes, for example) or baring people from them.

In other words, self-interest is helping the same-sex marriage cause. Be it with Wall Street bankers that want to retain their LGBT employees who want to sponsor their foreign-born spouse or with the Cato Institute that wants Washington to be true to the constitution — nowhere does it say that the federal government should regulate marriage, the tide is turning is favor of equality. The more people affected by this inequality, the more they will realize that “government has no business in the nation's bedroom” (dixit Pierre Trudeau, former Canadian Primer Minister).