Another major tech CEO condemns Arkansas’ discriminatory anti-LGBT legislationAround the Nation, Online Only, Top Highlights Monday, March 30th, 2015
LITTLE ROCK, Ark.—Today, Max Levchin, co-founder of PayPal, CEO of Affirm, chairman of Yelp and Glow, and director at Yahoo!, condemned Arkansas’ discriminatory H.B. 1228, which, if passed into law, will allow individuals to use religion as an excuse to discriminate against LGBT people and other minorities. On Friday, the measure passed the Arkansas Senate, and will likely be soon on its way to the Governor’s desk. A similar bill was signed into law last week in Indiana. However, corporate leaders from across the country are now taking action against bills like H.B. 1228 that are actively being considered in states across the country.
“Legislation like that passed in Indiana on Thursday and before Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson now aren’t just discriminatory against LGBT Americans and their families – they discourage job growth and stifle economic development,” said Levchin. “I have an obligation to my employees as a CEO to ensure their workplace is safe and welcoming for everyone. As I said on Thursday, the Indiana bill is a fundamental step backwards and for any state such as Arkansas that hopes to attract high paying high-tech jobs — I sincerely hope they don’t go down that same dangerous road. I am joining the CEOs of Salesforce, Yelp, Apple, and others in evaluating our relationships with states that have or are considering enacting legislation that permits discrimination against any of our employees or customers.”
Major corporations such as Wal-Mart, Yelp and Apple have spoken out against H.B. 1228. On Friday, Apple CEO Tim Cook personally called for the Governor to veto the legislation. In addition, civil rights pioneer Julian Bond also placed the spotlight on the discriminatory bill. Levchin is the latest national private-sector leader to call for this type of legislation to be abandoned in Arkansas and other states considering harmful measures against LGBT people.
On Sunday, HRC ran a full-page ad in the San Jose Mercury News, the largest paper in Silicon Valley and the high-tech industry’s paper of record. The ad spotlighted H.B. 1228, noting if Governor Hutchinson allows the bill to become law, he will be ignoring the opposition of major employers who opposed the legislation. A digital version of the ad is also running on various tech websites and digital properties of the Wall Street Journal.
In addition, HRC President Chad Griffin delivered a formal invitation to Governor Hutchinson to travel with him to New York City on Tuesday to attend a gathering of more than 250 C-suite executives of Fortune 500 companies and other major businesses—corporations whose investment potential collectively totals in the hundreds of billions of dollars. Each of these companies has scored a 100 percent on the HRC’s Corporate Equality Index (CEI)—demonstrating their core commitment to treating LGBT employees fairly and equally under the law. The Governor has not responded.
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