Coke, Pepsi, Intel, HP, Whole Foods, GE, Levis, Nissan, urge Mississippi to repeal vile anti-LGBT law
A number of business leaders are urging Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant to repeal Mississippi’s anti-LGBT law including from Coca-Cola, Intel, HP, Levis, Whole Foods and more.
Thirteen business leaders signed a letter addressed to Governor Bryant, which urges the repeal of HB 1523.
In Mississippi, the most extreme anti-LGBT ‘religious freedom’ bill passed the state legislature last week.
The Governor of Mississippi earlier this week signed House Bill 1523 – ignoring pleas from business leaders in the state.
The “religious freedom” bill allows discrimination across housing, employment and bathroom access.
The bill, passed last week, allows ‘religious freedom’ as a reason for discrimination against LGBT people.
The letter, circulated by the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), is signed by senior business leaders from Northrop Grumman, Levi Strauss & Co, GE, Coca-Cola, Choice Hotels, Intel, Dow Chemical Company, Replaements, Whole Foods Market, The Hartford, Hewlett Packard, Hyatt Hotels and PepsiCo.
It reads: “Put simply, HB 1523 is not a bill that reflects the values of our companies.
“We are disappointed to see the legislature and governor’s office pass discriminatory legislation. The business community, by and large, has consistently communicated to lawmakers at every level that such laws are bad for our employees and bad for business.”
The signatories urge the repeal of the bill.
“It is unfathomable that in 2016, Mississippi has passed a law that explicitly allows LGBT people to be denied service or discriminated against simply because of who they are and whom they love,” said HRC President Chad Griffin.
“That’s why across Mississippi and the nation, business leaders are speaking out against this discriminatory legislation that harms their employees, harms consumers, and harms their businesses. But there’s still time for lawmakers to reverse course and do the right thing. We urge Governor Bryant and state lawmakers to lead Mississippi toward a brighter future and leave the politics of discrimination and prejudice firmly in the past. It’s time for them to listen, stand up for all Mississippians, and work quickly to repeal HB 1523.”
Others, including MGM Resorts International, Nissan Group of North America, Tyson Food Inc, and Toyota have also voiced opposition to the bill, joining other corporations such as AT&T, IBM, and MassMutual.
Read the full letter, and signatories, courtesy of HRC, below:
Dear Governor Bryant, Lieutenant Governor Reeves & Speaker Gunn:
We write with concerns about legislation signed this week, HB 1523, which would allow individuals, religious organizations and private associations to use religion to discriminate against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) Mississippians in some of the most important aspects of their lives, including at work, at schools, in their family life and more. Put simply, HB 1523 is not a bill that reflects the values of our companies.
We are disappointed to see the legislature and governor’s office pass discriminatory legislation. The business community, by and large, has consistently communicated to lawmakers at every level that such laws are bad for our employees 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. We believe that HB 1523 will make it far more challenging for businesses across the state to recruit and retain the nation’s best and brightest workers and attract the most talented students from across the country. It will also diminish the state’s draw as a destination for tourism, new businesses, and economic activity.
Discrimination is wrong, and we believe it has no place in Mississippi or anywhere in our country. As companies that pride ourselves on being inclusive and welcoming to all, we strongly urge you to repeal this bill.
Wes Bush, Chairman, CEO and President of Northrop Grumman
Chip Bergh, President and Chief Executive Officer, Levi Strauss & Co.
Alex Dimitrief, Senior Vice President & General Counsel, GE
Sandy Douglas, Executive Vice President & President, Coca-Cola North America, The Coca-Cola Company
Steve Joyce, President and Chief Executive Officer, Choice Hotels International, Inc
Brian Krzanich, CEO, Intel
Andrew N. Liveris, CEO and Chairman of the Board, The Dow Chemical Company
Bob Page, Chairman & CEO, Replacements, Ltd.
Walter Robb, Co-CEO, Whole Foods Market
Christopher J. Swift, Chairman and CEO, The Hartford
Brian Tippens, Vice President, Chief Diversity Officer, Hewlett Packard Enterprise
Robb Webb, Chief Human Resources Officer, Hyatt Hotels Corporation
Tony West, EVP Government Affairs, General Counsel & Corporate Secretary, PepsiCo
The Human Rights Campaign is America’s largest organization working to achieve lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality. HRC envisions a world where LGBT people are embraced as full members of society at home, at work and in every community.