Posted: March 29, 2013


By Celia Cohen
Grapevine Political Writer

When Joe Biden came out for same-sex marriage, even the president listened. Some voices from Delaware are just louder than others.

Another one of those voices belongs to DuPont. The company announced Monday in a press release it supports legislation, expected to be introduced in the coming weeks, to legalize same-sex marriage here.

The pronouncement came and went with surprisingly little fanfare. It was extra surprising since the entire country spent the early part of the week focusing on marriage because of the two cases before the Supreme Court, and it would seem  natural to make it part of the discussion.

Also because this is the staid old DuPont Co., after all, the essence of the Delaware establishment.

Either DuPont is not what it used to be, or same-sex marriage is going from heated to ho-hum.

Still, it is hard to think of splashier names in Delaware than Joe Biden or DuPont. Except maybe Elena Delle Donne?

"The DuPont Co. carries a big name in the state. It may not be as powerful as it once was, but it sends a big message out to the rest of the business community," said Pete Schwartzkopf, the Democratic speaker in the state House of Representatives.

"It's a good win for DuPont. It's a good win for the marriage equality people."

DuPont is the latest in a series of endorsements being rolled out by Equality Delaware, the key organization in the state behind the same-sex marriage movement, as it looks to build momentum for legislative approval two years after its successful drive to legalize civil unions.

Other backers include Jack Markell, the Democratic governor, and Chris Coons, the Democratic senator, as well as Beau Biden, the Democratic attorney general and vice presidential son, and the Delaware NAACP.

Oh, and also the Delaware AFL-CIO, the state building trades council and the local branches of the public employees union and the commercial office cleaners union. DuPont and labor on the same side. How often does that happen?

Although DuPont was not one of the 200-plus companies that signed friend-of-the-court briefs for the Supreme Court cases, dealing with a California ban on same-sex marriage and the federal Defense of Marriage Act, it has adopted an official position in favor of same-sex marriage.

DuPont believes it makes for a better workplace, as it explained Monday in its press release.

"We firmly believe our commitment to diversity and respect attracts talented individuals with like values, and that creates a more innovative culture, enabling us to produce more and better solutions for the challenges facing our world," Benito Cachinero-Sanchez, a senior vice president for DuPont Human Resources, said in the press release.

In other words, DuPont believes the company itself will prosper if its workers are secure in their lives. Better chemistry through living.