Open for Business Coalition Launches to Combat 'Right to Discriminate' laws

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The Open for Business Coalition, consisting of the undersigned national business organizations, is formed to combat the swathe of so-called ‘Religious Freedom Bills’ currently being considered in several states across America. Our coalition calls on legislators and elected officials to oppose and stop the passage of these discriminatory laws.

In late February, Arizona’s harmful SB1062 was stopped in its tracks after Governor Jan Brewer vetoed the bill. Many of the organizations represented by our coalition showed broad opposition to the bill in letters, conversations, and television appearances that made clear the unintended impacts the bill would have on our ability to do business. As we launch the coalition, Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant has signed into state law SB2681 and at least two other states, Missouri and Oklahoma, are progressing similar bills through their legislatures. These laws will not protect ‘religious freedom’ as claimed, but instead effectively guarantee in state law the right to discriminate against vulnerable minority groups.

As the leaders of America’s most powerful diverse business communities, we represent millions of consumers, small- and medium-sized businesses, and corporations in states where this legislation is being progressed and across the nation. These backward-looking laws, being pursued under the guise of religious freedom, will have a significant impact on economies where they are passed. They work to discourage businesses seeking to expand in given states by shrinking a well-qualified, competitive, and diverse workforce. We can see clearly the damaging effect the proposed bills would have on our businesses ability to hire and retain the best talent, to attract new customers, and to expand our operations into these states.

No one should face discrimination while going about their daily lives. No one should fear that they might be seated in a separate area while visiting a restaurant, be thrown out of a sporting event, or denied a bank loan simply because of who they love. Given a choice, very few would choose to reside in or visit a state where these laws exist. The proposed legislation that we must fight so hard to prevent serves only to marginalize and alienate our friends and loved ones, and as business leaders we recognize the impact this has on our ability to support our employees and provide for our customers.

We understand that the Open for Business Coalition depends on bold action from our corporate partners and businesses on the ground in states under threat in order to succeed. Today we call on business leaders across corporate America, our small business members, our organizational allies, and all Americans who want to stop discrimination becoming law to oppose these bills where they exist.

Please join the Open for Business Coalition. As a partner in the coalition you will help ensure our voice is heard. Email us at [email protected] to learn how to get involved.

The coalition is convened by the National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce and members to date include:

National Black Justice Coalition
Small Business Majority
US Business Leadership Network
U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce

Resources

Read the Open for Business Coalition letter to Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant and lawmakers in Missouri and Oklahoma outlining the harmful impacts this legislation would have.

Read our draft letter that local businesses and affiliated chambers of commerce in affected states can send to lawmakers showing your support for the Open for Business Coalition.

Read our press release announcing the Open for Business Coalition.

Full list of states that have or are currently considering ‘Religious Freedom’ legislation or ballot initiatives in the current legislative period.

Arizona
Georgia
Hawaii
Idaho
Kansas
Maine
Mississippi
Missouri
Nevada
Ohio
Oklahoma
Oregon
South Dakota
Tennessee
Utah

Email us at [email protected] for more information.