What do Netflix, Microsoft, Tumblr, Linkedin, Dropbox, Cisco, Intel, and Lyft all have in common? Well, you can say they’re not down with discrimination. Over 70 tech industry leaders have taken a civil rights stand, persuading Congress and others to add solid non-discrimination protections for LGBT people. The move was made this week in response to a host of anti-LGBT bills pending or signed into law in states around the country. Indiana has been the state getting the most press coverage because they cited religious freedom. I’m wondering 2 things – First up: About the employees of these companies. What if they don’t feel the same way as their employers? And then can’t anyone just “create” or “think up” their own religion and say well, I need to do xy and z because my religion says so?? Don’t cult leaders delude themselves into thinking their cult is a religion? See my point?
Anyway, the statement from the tech leaders is below:
Joint statement from tech industry leaders
The values of diversity, fairness and equality are central to our industry. These values fuel creativity and inspiration, and those in turn make the U.S. technology sector the most admired in the world today.
We believe it is critically important to speak out about proposed bills and existing laws that would put the rights of minorities at risk. The transparent and open economy of the future depends on it, and the values of this great nation are at stake.
Religious freedom, inclusion, and diversity can co-exist and everyone including LGBT people and people of faith should be protected under their states’ civil rights laws. No person should have to fear losing their job or be denied service or housing because of who they are or whom they love.
However, right now those values are being called into question in states across the country. 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 it they felt it violated their religious beliefs.
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 anyone.
Anything less will only serve to place barriers between people, create hurdles to creativity and inclusion, and smother the kind of open and transparent society that is necessary to create the jobs of the future. Discrimination is bad for business and that’s why we’ve taken the time to join this joint statement.
(see the names here)