More Than 70 Tech Execs Sign 'Historic' Statement Against LGBT Discrimination

04/01/2015 02:12 pm ET | Updated Apr 02, 2015
Bill Clark via Getty Images

The tech industry is coming out strong in support of LGBT rights.

As of Wednesday afternoon, 39 top executives at some of the country’s biggest tech companies signed a joint statement on Wednesday urging lawmakers to add protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people to existing anti-discrimination legislation.

“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 service to anyone,” the statement reads.

Organized by Max Levchin, chief executive of the online financial firm Affirm, the statement includes signatures from such industry heavyweights as Square CEO Jack Dorsey, eBay CEO John Donahoe and Yelp CEO Jeremy Stoppelman.

The move comes in the wake of a new law passed in Indiana that allows business owners to refuse to serve LGBT people on religious grounds. A growing number of big businesses from Apple to the Gap have denounced the law. CEO Marc Benioff, who also signed the statement, led the charge against Indiana, saying he would cancel all of the company's non-essential travel to the state.

Under pressure from Walmart and other corporate giants, Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson refused to sign a similar religious-freedom bill on Wednesday unless legislators amended it to include protections against LGBT discrimination.

Human Rights Campaign, the nonprofit LGBT rights advocacy group, said it expects more executives to sign on later on Wednesday.

“This unprecedented and historic effort by the giants of the tech industry should be a clarion call to policymakers that discriminating against LGBT people is not acceptable in today’s marketplace of ideas,” Chad Griffin, president of Human Rights Campaign, said in a statement. “These leaders have made it clear: if states want high tech jobs, they must put fully inclusive nondiscrimination protections in place immediately.”

Read the full statement below:

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.


Max Levchin, CEO, Affirm

Mark Pincus, Chairman, Zynga

Jeremy Stoppelman, CEO, Yelp

Marc Benioff, CEO, Salesforce

Jack Dorsey, CEO, Square

Dick Costolo, CEO, Twitter

Logan Green, CEO, Lyft

Brian Chesky, CEO, AirBnB

Joe Gebbia, CPO, AirBnB

Nathan Blecharczyk, CTO, AirBnB

Ron Conway, CEO, Axon JuriMed Group LLC

John Donahoe, CEO, Ebay

Paul Graham, CoFounder, YCombinator

Rich Barton, Chairman, Zillow Group

Chad Hurley, CEO, Mixbit

Adora Cheung, CEO, Homejoy

Phil Libin, CEO, Evernote

Trevor Traina, CEO, IfOnly

Nirav Tolia, CEO, NextDoor

Dion Lim, CEO, NextLesson

Bret Taylor, CEO, Quip

Joe Lonsdale, CEO, Formation 8

Thomas Layton, Chairman, Elance-odesk

Fabio Rosati, CEO, Elance-odesk

Dave Morin, CEO, Path

Mark Goldstein, Chairman, BackOps

Kevin Rose, CEO, North Technologies

Yves Behar, CCO, Jawbone

Padmasree Warrior, CTSO, Cisco Systems

Tony Conrad, CEO,

Sunil Paul, CEO, Sidecar

Michael Moritz, Chairman, Sequoia Capital

Dan Schulman, President, PayPal

Devin Wenig, President, eBay Marketplaces

Robert Hohman, CEO, Glassdoor

Laurene Powell Jobs, Founder and Chair, Emerson Collective

Mohan Warrior, CEO, Alphalight

David Spector, CIO, Penny Mac

Shervin Pishevar, CoFounder, Sherpa Ventures

UPDATE: April 2, 12:40 p.m. -- More than 70 tech executives had signed the statement as of Thursday afternoon. The latest additions, listed below, include Satya Nadella, the CEO of Microsoft, and Reed Hastings, the CEO of Netflix.

Shervin Pishevar, CoFounder, Sherpa Ventures; David Karp, CEO, Tumblr; Reid Hoffman, Chairman, Linkedin; Kevin Ryan, Chairman, Gilt; Michael Birch, CoFounder, Bebo; Hosain Rahman, CEO, Jawbone; John Zimmer, President, Lyft; Bill Ready, CEO, Braintree; Jon Oringer, CEO, Shutterstock Images; Drew Houston, CEO, Dropbox; Bijan Sabet, General Partner, Spark Capital; Douglas Merrill, CEO, ZestFinance; Tom Sheahan, CEO, RedOxygen; Brian Samelson, CEO,; Jeff Weiner, CEO, LinkedIn; Daniel Lurie, CEO, Tipping Point Community; Aaron Levie, CEO, Box; Jeff Weiner, CEO, Linkedin; Gary Moore, President & COO, Cisco; Travis Katz, CEO, Gogobot; Joe Davis, CEO, Webtrends; Satya Nadella, CEO, Microsoft; Brad Smith, Executive Vice President and General Counsel, Microsoft; Josh Kopelman, Partner, First Round Capital; Rob Glaser, CEO, Realnetworks; Brian Krzanich, CEO, Intel; Jason Goldberg, CEO, Hem; Evan Reece, CEO, Liftopia; Dave Gilboa, CoFounder, Warby Parker; Neil Blumenthal, CoFounder, Warby Parker; Sean Parker, Chairman, Airtime; Reed Hastings, CEO, Netflix; and Charles Phillips, CEO, Infor.

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