Sunday, March 25, 2012

Biased statements (and proposed legislation) don't just scare away gay people -- they scare away everyone

Some Republican Legislators talk up economic development but also sponsor and support anti-gay legislation. They may want to rethink that strategy.

Interesting article by Melissa Maynard in about the crucial role that businesses play when it comes to the gay marriage debate.

Washington state recently passed a gay marriage bill that had support of the governor, key Republican legislators and high-profile businesses such as Microsoft, Boeing and Nike. Bill sponsor Sen. Ed Murray, a Democrats, said this is "how we got moderate Republicans and conservative Democrats to vote for this."

LGBT activists have been successfully lining up business support for years. It's paid off in Washington, Maryland and New York. There's now a looming battle over the issue in North Carolina. On May 8, voters will decide whether to further codify the state's gay marriage ban by putting it in the state constitution.

These are all big states with a strong corporate presence. These businesses want to attract the young workforce and "fear being left behind in places seen as backward by gay workers and other young employees who feel strongly about the issue."

While Wyoming is not exactly a hipster destination (with the possible exception of Jackson), it runs a risk that its biased attitudes may hinder attempts to land new businesses. None of us lives in a vacuum. Outrageous statements travel like wildfire in our social media age.

Stephen Dull V.P. with North Carolina-based VF Corp. (a Fortune 500 company) put it this way: "If you're sending a signal to the world that you're biased, it just doesn't scare away gay people. It scares away everyone."

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