More tech leaders are joining the fight against new “religious freedoms” laws, which make it legal for business owners to refuse service to the LGBT community.
Nearly 40 tech leaders have now signed a statement posted on the Human Rights Campaign’s site opposing the laws, including those who have already been vocal like Salesforce’s Marc Benioff and Zillow’s Rich Barton. CEOs of Twitter, Yelp, Airbnb, Lyft and more have also signed the letter.
“This unprecedented and historic effort by the giants of the tech industry should be a clarion call to policymakers that discriminating against LGBT people is not acceptable in today’s marketplace of ideas,” HRC president Chad Griffin said in the statement. “These leaders have made it clear: if states want high tech jobs, they must put fully inclusive nondiscrimination protections in place immediately.”
The group statement is in response to the law in Indiana Gov. Mike Pence signed last week. A similar law is on Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson’s desk, but he has said he will not sign it unless “state lawmakers…make changes so the bill mirrors federal law,” according to CNN.
“If anything can be learned from the battle for fairness and equality in Indiana, Arkansas, and other states, it’s that LGBT people deserve to be protected from unjust discrimination,” said Max Levchin, CEO of Affirm and the organizer of the joint statement on the HRC site. “We are proud to stand on the side of liberty and justice and call on all legislatures to add sexual orientation and gender identity as protected classes in non-discrimination protections. This will ensure that no one faces discrimination while everyone preserves their right to live out their faith.”
Last weekend, Apple’s chief executive Tim Cook penned an opinion piece for the Washington Post: “A wave of legislation, introduced in more than two dozen states, would allow people to discriminate against their neighbors,” Cook wrote. “These bills rationalize injustice by pretending to defend something many of us hold dear. They go against the very principles our nation was founded on, and they have the potential to undo decades of progress toward greater equality.”
There’s something very dangerous happening in states across the country. http://t.co/QJTkCuZVdo
— Tim Cook (@tim_cook) March 30, 2015
The Human Rights Campaign has a full report on the “wave of anti-LGBT bills that have been filed by state legislators across the country. More than 85 bills have been filed in 28 state legislatures.”
Let’s hope these states’ governments take note that the tech world means business.