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Amazon has signed a letter opposing a set of anti-LGBT laws in Tennessee, as the tech giant plans to expand its presence in the business-friendly state.
“The legislation that explicitly or implicitly allows discrimination against LGBT people and their families unnecessary liability for talent recruitment and retention, tourism and business investment to the state,” the open letter to tennessee history center lawmakers states.
The Jeff Bezos-led behemoth joined Salesforce, Dell Technologies, Postmates, Warner Music Group, Nashville Ballet, Nashville cares, and more than a dozen other companies at the urging legislative leaders to reject several bills that currently make their way through the Tennessee legislature. A spokesperson from Amazon confirmed that the company is there a signature in the letter.
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Tennessee legislators are currently debating, or you are considering bills that would prohibit same-sex couples to adopt and marry, and the limit transgender access to public bathrooms, according to the Tennessean.
The letter, which was posted by a bipartisan advocacy group called Freedom For All Americans, continues: “We have seen time and again that the discriminatory policy that has a negative impact LGBT people and their families have drastic economic consequences, and such a policy would surely Tennessee at an economic disadvantage.”
Earlier this month, a group of activists sent a letter to the members of the Glamazons, the retail giant’s LGBT employee resource group, asking them to pressure the company regarding Tennessee’s anti-LGBT legislation.
The participants celebrate with the Amazon original series ‘Transparent’ float at the LA Pride Parade on June 14, 2015, in West Hollywood, California. (Photo by Tommaso Boddi/Getty Images for Amazon Studios)
“Thank you to Amazon, especially the Glamazons, for standing up for LGBT Tennesseans today by opposing this hateful and discriminatory legislation,” saying: “No Homo? No Way!” campaign manager Conor Gaughan, in a statement to Fox News. “It sends an important message to the legislature here in Tennessee, and everywhere in the country, that the Amazon – in addition to America’s best companies – take notice of the laws and policies in the countries where they do business; there will be consequences if the states threaten LGBTQ rights.”
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Sponsors of the bills claim that they are trying to protect “religious freedom.”
Last March, the activist campaign with the name on Amazon to only to consider LGBT-friendly states for the planned second headquarters. Amazon finally picked up Virginia’s Crystal City and New York, although it eventually pulled out of the latter after pressure from local lawyers and politicians.
This is not the first time that the american business community has played a role in opposing anti-LGBT legislation. Numerous companies and organizations, including PayPal, the NCAA, Adidas, and CoStar cancelled plans to build, expand offices, or host events in North Carolina represent $3.7 billion in lost investment for more than 12 years, according to an Associated Press analysis during the debate on the state of 2016 “bathroom bill.” The bill has now been partially repealed.
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The open letter states: “As we recruit new talent, and seeks to preserve our world-class employees, we are often faced with questions about whether our state is a welcoming and inclusive place to live for the LGBT community. It is both an economic necessity and a part of our corporate values our employees and their families, and potential employees, feel welcomed and included in the prosperity of our state.”