Google, Microsoft, Facebook and Twitter
are among the more than 100 tech companies calling on state
legislators to adopt LGBT protections.
The statement, initially released last
week, calls on states to add sexual orientation and gender identity
as protected classes to their civil rights laws.
Last week, governors in Arkansas and
Indiana signed revised versions of so-called religious freedom bills
after business leaders and gay rights advocates voiced opposition to
the measures. Critics said that the laws' broad language might be
used by businesses to refuse service to gay men and lesbians.
Arkansas governors sign revised “religious freedom” bills.)
“In more than twenty states,
legislatures are considering legislation that could empower
individuals or businesses to discriminate against LGBT people by
denying them service if they felt it violated their religious
statement reads in part.
“To ensure no one faces
discrimination and ensure everyone preserves their right to live out
their faith, we call on all legislatures to add sexual orientation
and gender identity as protected classes to their civil rights laws
and to explicitly forbid discrimination or denial of services to
Chad Griffin, president of the Human
Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation's largest LGBT rights advocate,
applauded the move.
“The unified message from these
business leaders is clear: Pass LGBT non-discrimination protections
and pass them now,” said
Griffin. “Until legislators finally step up to the plate and
take action, this issue is not going to go away. It’s time for
elected officials to listen to the overwhelming voice of fair-minded
Americans demanding equality for their LGBT loved ones, friends, and
neighbors. No American should risk losing their job, be denied
housing, or refused service simply because of who they are or whom
More than 100 tech leaders signed on to
the statement, including Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff, Microsoft CEO
Satya Nadella, Twitter CEO Dick Costolo and Facebook CEO Mark
Zuckerberg and Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg.