National convention in Minneapolis studies LGBT workplace issues


The state-by-state expansion of same sex marriage has shifted the landscape in the workplace regarding benefits. That issue is part of the focus of a national summit underway in Minneapolis.

MPR reports more than 2,000 executives, and human resources officers are attending the 15th annual conference on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality in the workplace sponsored by Out & Equal Workplace Advocates, a San Francisco-based nonprofit.

"HR professionals are throwing their hands up and pulling their hair out trying to equalize benefits across the board," said Selisse Berry, Out & Equal Founding Executive Director.

Sessions will address the demands of a global workforce. Sixteen countries allow gay marriage, but homosexuality is still illegal in 76 countries. AIDS activist and actress Kathy Najimy and Robert Hanson, CEO of American Eagle Outfitters, are leading workshops.

Thursday night's closing dinner includes political humorist Kate Clinton and R&B Grammy-winner Thelma Houston.

Reuters reports that a Harris Poll commissioned by Out & Equal Workplace Advocates and released this week found 49% of gay and lesbian adults would consider changing jobs if their employer required them to transfer to a state where same sex marriages were not recognized, compared to 30 percent last year.

"Corporations and employers that operate in states that don't yet recognize same-sex marriage will find it tougher to recruit and keep the best LGBT talent," said Berry.

The new survey also reveals that two-thirds (67%) of all Americans, regardless of their feelings of approval or disapproval, believe marriage equality is "inevitable everywhere in the U.S."

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