Tipping Point Apparent

In any movement there’s always a tipping point–or points. That was apparent in the recent St. Pete Pride parade.

The signs were manifest. The crowd was bigger, the event was at night, police and firefighters were no longer discouraged from marching in uniform and the city’s mayor was a high-profile participant. All were indicators of societal change over the last dozen years.

And then there’s enlightened self-interest. This goes beyond what activists and progressives accomplish and what peer pressure yields.

We’re talking the business community. When it gets supportive–and you typically won’t find it in the vanguard–it sends a message. Of acceptance. It’s more than doing the right thing. It’s also doing the smart thing.

It speaks volumes when companies position themselves to make a statement in support of diversity–knowing that it now helps its image and aids in recruiting and retaining top talent. When supporting LGBT rights is a bottom-line, strategic winner, that’s a tipping point.

We’re there now.

It was estimated that as many as 3,500 hotel rooms were booked for the weekend Pride festival in St. Petersburg. Mayor Rick Kriseman noted that local businesses expected to rake in more than $10 million. Maybe much more.

Presenting sponsors were as diverse as Wells Fargo, Florida Blue, HCA West Florida hospitals and St. Petersburg Distillery. Other corporate sponsors included TD Bank, Bud Light, State Farm and Macy’s.

It’s hardly coincidental that corporations are writing checks and raising their profiles at such events as same-sex marriage bans topple and polls show increasing acceptance of gay marriage.

Nobody, possibly not even Pam Bondi, wants to be on the wrong side of history. Besides, it’s  not good for business

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