Lloyd Blankfein might not be pulling down the same bonuses these days as in years past, but he’s still one of Wall Street’s most powerful and recognizable figures. And he’s decided to speak out in favor of marriage equality. The Human Rights Campaign has tapped Blankfein as its first national corporate spokesman for same-sex marriage; his first spot is below. HRC explicitly acknowledged that one reason they chose Blankfein was that it was an “unexpected” choice to pull someone from such a macho industry; however, the Goldman Sachs executive has long been a marriage equality supporter. The decision to make his support more public might run the risk of alienating conservative Goldman clients, reports DealBook, but it’s also surely a calculated public-relations move for Blankfein, who is rumored to be inching closer to stepping down from running the bank. Will it work?
Paul A. Argenti, a professor of corporate communication at the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth, says Mr. Blankfein’s decision isn’t likely to have any positive impact on the reputation of the firm — or Mr. Blankfein.
“If you are a Goldman employee and you are gay or contemplating coming out, this is great,” he said. But for Goldman and Mr. Blankfein, the issue of same-sex marriage has nothing to do with what Goldman Sachs does. “If Mr. Blankfein was taking a radical stand on pay you could say wow, that’s big. But equality is simply not an issue you associate with Goldman.”
So we officially live in an America where it’s more controversial to suggest that highly compensated men make less money than it is to suggest that they ought to be allowed to marry each other if they so desire. Progress!