Remember a couple months back when we were talking with Doug Cornelius about the sexual orientation discrimination inherent in the spousal standard of the accredited investor definition?

Well, Dan Shapiro, Joe Wallin and I have launched a campaign to do something about that gross and senseless inequity.

CaptureThe campaign is called Startup Equality and our petition is posted at

Any time is always the right time to do what is right. In this case, the timing is also fortuitous. Not only has the Supreme Court recently overturned DOMA, but in a release proposing new Reg D rules, the SEC has specifically requested public comment on the accredited investor definition.

The spousal definition is wrong, but it can be fixed. Here's what we propose:

"A spouse of a natural person shall mean another person, regardless of gender or sexual orientation, whose relationship with the person specified: (1) may be characterized as such person's (i) husband, (ii) wife, (iii) spouse, (iv) domestic partner, or (v) designated beneficiary under any applicable state law for the purpose of ensuring that each person in a two-person relationship has certain rights or financial protections based upon such designation; or (2) is that of the other party to a civil union with such person."

It's gratifying to see, too, David Rose, Mark Suster, and others weighing in already on the issue. See this piece in the Wall Street Journal.

For more background on how DOMA, the Supreme Court and state laws frame this issue, see this seminal post on Doug Cornelius' blog, DOMA, the SEC, and the Accredited Investor, and earlier posts I've now collected under the "Spouse" tag.

Please check out and sign the petition.

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