Corporate leaders are trying to convince Arizona’s Republican governor Jan Brewer that allowing businesses to discriminate is bad for business.
From Apple to Delta Airlines to Petsmart to Yelp, more companies joined the fight on Tuesday to get Brewer to veto SB 1062 -- a bill passed by the Arizona Senate that would allow businesses to refuse to serve any customers based on the owners’ religious beliefs. Arizona Senate Democrats, who tried to thwart the bill, argue that the the proposal essentially legalizes discrimination against LGBT individuals.
On Tuesday night David Lenhardt, the CEO of PetSmart, which is headquartered in Arizona, told CNBC that the bill is “bad for Arizona business. We think it’s bad for the people of Arizona.”
If passed, the law "would cause significant harm to many people and will result in job losses," Delta Air Lines said in a statement Tuesday, joining its competitor American Airlines in protesting the bill. In a letter to Brewer earlier this week, American executives wrote “the reality is that (the bill) has the very real potential of slowing down the momentum we have achieved by reducing the desire for businesses to locate in this state.”
Keith D. Grossman, the senior vice president and deputy general counsel of Starwood Hotels and Resorts, also wrote a letter to Brewer Tuesday, urging her to veto the bill.
Apple reportedly went one step further. A representative of the company called the governor’s office to discuss the bill, a spokesperson confirmed to the Arizona Capitol Times. The tech giant is planning on opening a glass factory in the state that would employ 700 workers. Apple didn't immediately return a request for comment from The Huffington Post.
(For a longer list of the companies asking Brewer to veto the bill click over to this infographic compiled by activist Scott Wooledge).
Brewer has until next Friday to veto.
Large corporations have made a habit in recent years of getting involved in the fight for gay rights. More than 200 companies urged the Supreme Court to overturn the Defense of Marriage Act, arguing in a brief last year that legalizing same-sex marriage would make the U.S. a more desirable environment for top talent.
The highest court ultimately struck down DOMA and at least 27 major companies voiced their support of the ruling.
This post has been updated to include a letter from Starwood.
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