San Francisco-based Salesforce on
Thursday threatened to pull a digital marketing conference out of
Georgia if Governor Nathan Deal does not veto a bill that seeks to
protect opponents of marriage equality.
Lawmakers approved House Bill 757 on
Wednesday after replacing direct references to same-sex marriages
with allowing religious groups to deny services “that violate such
faith-based organization's sincerely held religious beliefs.”
lawmakers okay anti-gay bill.)
Chad Griffin, president of the Human
Rights Campaign (HRC), said that the changes “make an egregious and
discriminatory bill even worse” and called on Governor Deal, a
Republican, to veto the proposal.
Salesforce Connections is scheduled to
take place in Atlanta in May.
“The legislation creates an
environment of discrimination and makes the state of Georgia seem
unwelcoming to same-sex couples and the LGBTQ community,” the
company said in a statement. “We were encouraged by Governor
Deal's recent comments that he would veto any bill that allows the
perception of discrimination and we are now calling on him to stand
by his comments and move quickly to veto HB 757. If HB 757 is not
vetoed and instead becomes law, Salesforce will have to reduce
investments in Georgia, including moving the Salesforce Connections
conference to a state that provides a more welcoming environment for
the LGBTQ community.”
Last week, Deal
broke his silence on the bill and called for a compromise that
would protect religious beliefs without discriminating.
Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff (pictured)
has been a vocal opponent of House Bill 757 and similar measures.