Big companies that operate in Tennessee are pushing back after the state expressed interest in passing discriminatory, anti-LGBTQ legislation. Two anti-LGBTQ bills being considered in the state: One would allow religious child welfare agencies to deny services to same-sex couples on the basis of religious freedom, and the other would mandate that the state Attorney General defend the ability of individual schools to decide which bathrooms trans students can use.
Among the businesses opposing the bills are big-name corporations, including hotel chains, consumer goods makers, tech companies, and dozens of small businesses. Marriott International, MassMutual, Nike, InterContinental Hotels Group, Salesforce, Unilever and Replacements signed a letter opposing the law promoted by the Human Rights Campaign on Tuesday, which was sent to the lieutenant governor Randy McNally and the House Speaker, Glen Casada.
In the letter, businesses said that the bills being considered would “enshrine taxpayer-funded discrimination into law by prohibiting cities and state agencies from implementing policies that stop taxpayer funds from being used by
businesses, organizations and contractors to discriminate against LGBTQ people in employment policies.”
“Put simply, these bills do not reflect the values of our companies,” the letter continued. “We are disappointed to see the legislature consider discriminatory legislation. The business community, by and large, has consistently communicated to lawmakers at every level that bills that target LGBTQ people are bad for our employees and their families, bad for our customers and bad for business. This is not a direction in which states move when they are seeking to provide successful, thriving hubs for business and economic development.”
“The anti-LGBTQ ‘Slate of Hate’ being considered in Tennessee is about as discriminatory as they come. These bills would harm LGBTQ Tennesseans and signal that Tennessee is closed for business,” said Beck Bailey, Acting Director of the Workplace Equality Program at the Human Rights Campaign, in a statement. “We are grateful to the corporations that have signed this letter opposing these harmful bills, and we implore Tennessee’s lawmakers to heed their warning. The Volunteer State needs only look east toward North Carolina to see how anti-LGBTQ legislation can harm a state’s residents, economy and reputation. Tennessee should not repeat North Carolina’s mistake and lawmakers should not advance these bills any further.”