The Human Rights Commission has releases a statement this afternoon that includes an open letter to GOP leadership in the Legislature asking them to repeal HB 1523. The letter is signed by executives from GE, the Dow Chemical Company, PepsiCo, Hewlett Packard Enterprises, Hyatt Hotels Corporation, Choice Hotels International, Inc., Levi Strauss & Co., and Whole Foods Market.
The full text is here:
Dear Governor Bryant, Lieutenant Governor Reeves & Speaker Gunn:
We write with concerns about legislation signed this week, HB 1523, which would allow individuals, religious organizations and private associations to use religion to discriminate against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) Mississippians in some of the most important aspects of their lives, including at work, at schools, in their family life and more. Put simply, HB 1523 is not a bill that reflects the values of our companies.
We are disappointed to see the legislature and governor’s office pass discriminatory legislation. The business community, by and large, has consistently communicated to lawmakers at every level that such laws are bad for our employees and bad for business. This is not a direction in which states move when they are seeking to provide successful, thriving hubs for business and economic development. We believe that HB 1523 will make it far more challenging for businesses across the state to recruit and retain the nation’s best and brightest workers and attract the most talented students from across the country. It will also diminish the state’s draw as a destination for tourism, new businesses, and economic activity.
Discrimination is wrong, and we believe it has no place in Mississippi or anywhere in our country. As companies that pride ourselves on being inclusive and welcoming to all, we strongly urge you to repeal this bill.
Chip Bergh, President and Chief Executive Officer, Levi Strauss & Co. Alex Dimitrief, Senior Vice President & General Counsel, GE Robb Webb, Chief Human Resources Officer, Hyatt Hotels Corporation Steve Joyce, President and Chief Executive Officer, Choice Hotels International, Inc. Andrew N. Liveris, CEO and Chairman of the Board, The Dow Chemical Company Walter Robb, Co-CEO, Whole Foods Market Brian Tippens, Vice President, Chief Diversity Officer, Hewlett Packard Enterprise Tony West, EVP Government Affairs, General Counsel & Corporate Secretary, PepsiCo