Texas business leaders move aggressively to combat proponents of ‘religious freedom’ legislationAround the Nation, Online Only, Top Highlights Wednesday, April 15th, 2015
It is no surprise that proponents of so-called ‘religious freedom’ legislation have emerged in Texas. An array of conservative red states are all crafting some form of legislation that would allow businesses to deny services to anyone – not just the LGBTQ community – based on their religious convictions. But a coalition of business and tech leaders are fighting back with their own campaign called “Texas Competes.”
Reporting for BizJournals.com, Michael Theis explores the efforts that leaders of, among others, Dell, Inc. Southwest Airlines and various Chambers of Commerce are putting forth to insure that the LGBTQ community in Texas is not discriminated against. “Dubbed Texas Competes, the initiative includes some of Texas’ biggest companies such as Southwest Airlines Inc. and Dell Inc. and a number of Chambers of Commerce chapters from around the state. The more-than 100 companies and business organizations taking part in the initiative have pledged to support equal rights for the LGBT community.”
“Texas is an economic powerhouse because it’s a place where talented people, entrepreneurs, and companies want to call home,” said Tom Meredith, former Dell CFO and board member for Texas Competes. “But our competitiveness is in jeopardy if Texas does not become a place that is welcoming of LGBT workers and families.”
According to Theis, this is the second time in almost as many weeks that a business leader has spoken out against the need to fight veiled efforts to discriminate against gay people. Bill Hammond, Theis writes, “took part in a media conference with LGBT civil rights activists and Democratic lawmakers to state his group’s opposition to measures similar to Indiana’s controversial religious freedom act. Opponents of that bill said it would open the door to discrimination against LGBT people in the marketplace. Its passage sparked an economic backlash against the state and Indiana lawmakers scrambled to amend the measure.”
These ‘religious protection’ acts are a reaction to what many agree is the coming inevitability of same-sex marriage in the United States.
Other companies with operations in Texas include Whole Foods Market, IBM, T-Mobile, metroPCS, Marriott, United Airlines and Samsung.
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