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. Salesforce.com 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, about.me
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, eMaint.com; 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.