A Dozen Protestors Call For UBS To Cut Ties With Garrett Over Anti-Gay Comments

The Record ( — March 18, 2016

Staff Writer
The Record

PARAMUS — A dozen protestors on Thursday called on financial services firm UBS to sever its ties with Rep. Scott Garrett, following anti-gay remarks he made last year.

"He's far too conservative for New Jersey," Ann Vardeman of the watchdog group New Jersey Citizen Action said of Garrett, a Republican from Sussex County. "And the idea that these corporations are supporting that hate, it's just wrong."

Vardeman was among the group of protestors who gathered outside a UBS Financial Services branch in Paramus Thursday afternoon. The protest was led by state Assemblyman Tim Eustace, D-Maywood, who has vowed to go "branch to branch, company to company until others stand with the LGBT community against Garrett's bigotry and hatred."

The protestors held aloft signs proclaiming, "Hate: Spoken by Garrett Funded by UBS" and "Stop Homophobia." They chanted, "Don't support hate," and "Hey hey! Ho ho! Scott Garrett has got to go!"

Garrett represents New Jersey's Fifth District. He told House colleagues last year that he would not pay dues to a Republican campaign fund in part because it had supported gay candidates. Garrett later argued that he was exercising his freedom of religion by contributing to organizations that share his beliefs on issues such as "traditional" marriage.

As chairman of a powerful finance subcommittee, Garrett has benefited from contributions from the financial industry. But Eustace, who is gay, and state Sen. Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg, D-Teaneck, have called on companies to stop giving to him, and they have had some success. PNC Bank last month announced that it would cut ties with the congressman. Goldman Sachs, Capital One, BBVA Compass, U.S. Bancorp and Nomura Holdings have also reportedly said they would stop donating to him.

UBS's political action committee donated $10,000, the maximum amount allowed, to Garrett in 2015. That, says Eustace, seems at odds with the company's avowed commitment to diversity and inclusion.

UBS has earned top marks in the Human Rights Campaign's Corporate Equality Index, which rates companies' commitment to LGBT rights. It has also expressed support for gay marriage.

"At UBS we are proud of our commitment to the LGBT community and this commitment is an important part of the firm's staunch belief that all individuals have the right to live and work in environments free from discrimination," UBS spokesman Gregg Rosenberg said. "We are looking further into this matter regarding the reported comments by Congressman Garrett, and the UBS PAC will assess its giving in 2016 accordingly."

Garrett's campaign manager, Sarah Neibart, also weighed in: "It's troubling when elected officials like Loretta Weinberg and Tim Eustace are trying to intimidate private businesses instead of serving their constituents and respecting everyone's voice. It's even more troubling when the only reasons behind the intimidation and protests are Congressman Garrett's support for traditional marriage and the expression of his First Amendment right to religious liberty."

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