In this exclusive audio interview Emmy Winner Charlotte Robinson host of OUTTAKE VOICES™ talks with Bob Witeck, CEO and co-founder of Witeck-Combs Communications based in Washington, DC, the nation's premier public relations and marketing firm specializing in reaching LGBT households and consumers. This year Witeck-Combs is being honored at the GLAAD Amplifier Awards with the Public Visibility Award on October 4th in NYC. We talked to Bob about what the GLAAD Award means to him and his lifelong commitment to LGBT Civil Rights.
Bob Witeck and Wes Combs co-authored “Business Inside Out” considered the handbook on marketing insights, practical tips and strategies targeting the LGBT market. Over the years Witeck has talked a lot about ‘Gay Buying Power'. When asked whether passing marriage equality on the federal level would boost the US Economy, Witeck stated, “Absolutely. Marriage equality is almost a business imperative. In July I had a chance to write a blog piece for CNN which they featured on their homepage. I wanted to point out how business benefits from gay marriage. For example, the trends that we have to hire the best and brightest have always required companies to begin with what happened in New York thirty years ago which was to offer domestic partnership benefits but marriage actually just ups that ante. It just assures that equality of relationships everywhere we turn in every market, in every jurisdiction and what a business hates the most is having a hodgepodge of different relationships to address. If you were a company, a multi-state employer, for example and you have gay couples in Massachusetts and you have gay couples in Arkansas and you have gay couples in California and Illinois, in Illinois you have civil unions, marriage in Massachusetts, you have no protections in Arkansas and in California you have some measure of hybrid and some people there are even married. That kind of complexity is actually two things. It’s a problem for employers to administer. Second it also costs money to have to have complicated administration of benefits and tax structure. I think ultimately that a simplification will be a very important tool that will help employers to recruit talent which I think will help strengthen a lot of businesses and then again households that are married have stability and those are the ones that are more likely to put down roots in their communities. They’re the ones that will spend money to buy a house more often than not; that will have children more often than not in the future and to spend money the ways that every family spends money, college and vacations and you know, diapers. I think that those things we’re spending money on now but I think that what marriage equality does is it gives us the stability to make long term plans and that allows us to do it in a more thoughtful way.”
Besides being honored this year by GLAAD, Witeck was named one of 20 outstanding openly gay Virginians by Equality Virginia and in 2010 was nominated for the Trailblazer Award by Out & Equal Workplace Advocates the national organization that champions safe and equitable workplaces for LGBT people. He and his partner Bob Connelly live in Arlington, Virginia.
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