Local Businesses sound off on Gay Marriage

TRI-CITIES, Wash. -- The ads are all over TV and the issue of same sex marriage is one of the biggest matters before voters. It's not just individuals who are expressing their opinion. Many Seattle-based companies have endorsed Referendum-74.

This includes companies like Microsoft, Costco, Nordstrom, REI and Amazon. But giving an opinion can be financially risky. KEPR found some local businesses are proclaiming their stance, but not always interested in talking about it.

Three weeks until the election and they're everywhere: signs telling you what to think and who to vote for.

Becky Hopwood tells KEPR, "Well, usually I don't think too much about it. Depends on what the subject matter is."

The matter of Referendum 74 is a polarizing issue. It would either uphold or strike down same-sex marriage in Washington. Some local businesses are stating their opinion. It can be a risky move that either draws in customers, or turns then away.

Reporter, Melanie Tubbs asks, "Would you think twice about where you're shopping?"
One shopper responds, "Yes, I guess I would."
Another, Jill Bradley says, "It wouldn't stop me from going somewhere but it might encourage me to go to one business over another."
Becky chimes in, "It's pretty risky for a business to do that. They risk the potential of losing money and customers."

That risk for businesses appears to be limited to a sign and not to a statement... None of the store owners would talk to KEPR on camera, but one told me that it's no different than having political signs in your own front yard. He thinks it's actually more effective. More foot traffic means more possibility of getting the message out.

Which is really what the signs are about in the first place.

The shoppers sound off:
"Hopefully, you encourage someone to support it or not support it."

"I really don't think business and politics should mix."

"You're better off not discussing religion or politics."

Supporters of R-74 to uphold same sex marriage have raised significantly more than the opponents of the issue. The total so far is almost $27 million.The effort to reject the issue has a $2 million war chest.