Michaela Jae Rodriguez
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Major Companies Decry 'License to Discriminate' Bills

Major Companies Decry 'License to Discriminate' Bills

Several major corporations have signed on to a Human Rights Campaign statement decrying proposed “license to discriminate” bills like the one that just became law in Indiana and the one awaiting action by the governor of Arkansas. 

The first nine signatories are American Airlines, Apple, Levi Strauss, Microsoft, Orbitz Worldwide, Replacements, Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Symantec, and Wells Fargo.

The statement denounces as “bad for business” laws that would allow individuals and companies to discriminate against those who offend their religious beliefs — for instance, LGBT people or members of a different faith. The current rash of legislation is largely in reaction to the spread of marriage equality, as some vendors of wedding-related goods and services want to be able to turn away same-sex couples without running afoul of state antidiscrimination law.

“Equality in the workplace is a business priority to foster talent and innovation, and these state laws undermine this core value,” the statement reads in part. “These state laws set a dangerous precedent that stifles investment and economic growth by jeopardizing a state’s status as a welcoming place for employees to live and thrive, undermining the success of a business at large.

“It is unreasonable for job creators to recruit a diverse workforce from states that encourage businesses to discriminate against our community of employees or consumers. While these bills won’t alter our commitment to equality in the workplace, this legislation sends the wrong message about the states in which we operate and threatens our core corporate commitment to respect all individuals. We the undersigned call for public officials to defeat or abandon efforts to enact this type of harmful legislation.”

HRC officials said they expect additional companies to sign on to the document, which is available on the organization’s website. HRC president Chad Griffin issued a statement praising the businesses that have taken a stand against such laws, which are under consideration in numerous states.

“Business leaders have made it abundantly clear that these anti-LGBT bills undermine their core values and set dangerous precedents that stifle investment and economic growth,” he said. “Anti-equality lawmakers who value corporate investments in their state should sit up, pay attention, and abandon these bills attacking LGBT people.”

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