This will make Christmas shopping all that much more joyous! The department store Nordstrom has come out in support of marriage equality and approval of Washington state’s Referendum 74.

In an email to employees, Blake Nordstrom, President of Nordstrom, Inc, Pete Nordstrom, President of Merchandising and Erik Nordstrom, President of Stores said that the company has “long had a philosophical approach to our business to be inclusive,” noting that the company was an early adopter of adding sexual orientation to its anti-discrimination policy and has offered life partner benefits to employees since 1998.

We feel the next step in this journey is to now support freedom to marry, also called marriage equality. We gave this thoughtful consideration and felt the time was right to come out in support of this civil rights issue. It is our belief that our gay and lesbian employees are entitled to the same rights and protections marriage provides under the law as our other employees. We also believe supporting freedom to marry will help us create a more attractive and inclusive workplace for our current and prospective employees. Again — this decision is consistent with our long-time philosophy of inclusivity and equality for our customers and employees.

Read the entire email below the fold.

Nordstrom has annual sales of $10.5 billion and has been on Fortune’s Best Companies To Work For list for 15 years since its inception. Safe to say, they know what they’re doing with this business choice.

Nordstrom joins an illustrious group of companies that have come out in support of freedom to marry, including Microsoft, Amazon, Google, Starbucks, REI, Alcoa, EMC and Vulcan.

Nordstrom email to employees from Blake, Pete and Erik Nordstrom:

To all employees:

We have long had a philosophical approach to our business to be inclusive about the way we serve customers as well as how we work to create a workplace where every employee is welcomed and respected. It’s simply how we operate.

With respect to our gay and lesbian employees, Nordstrom was an early adopter of adding sexual orientation to our anti-discrimination policy, which means we guarantee the same legal rights and protections in our workplace to gay and lesbian employees just as we do for other employees regardless of sex, race, color, creed, national origin, religion, age, marital status, pregnancy, physical, mental or sensory disability, and gender identity. This goes beyond the Federal government’s protection in Title VII, the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which still excludes sexual orientation. In 1998, we began offering life partner benefits to employees.

We feel the next step in this journey is to now support freedom to marry, also called marriage equality. There is a lot of awareness of this issue across the country and we’ve heard from many employees and customers. We gave this thoughtful consideration and felt the time was right to come out in support of this civil rights issue. It is our belief that our gay and lesbian employees are entitled to the same rights and protections marriage provides under the law as all other employees. We also believe supporting freedom to marry will help us create a more attractive and inclusive workplace for our current and prospective employees. Again – this decision is consistent with our long-time philosophy of inclusivity and equality for our customers and employees.

We recognize there are differing opinions about freedom to marry. We hope we’ve been clear about why we made this decision. To all of our employees – if you choose to talk about this with each other, please do so respectfully. We want you to be informed about our position so you can also respectfully answer any customer questions that come your way.

Thank you.

Blake, Pete, Erik