Some LGBTQ rights advocates have started a campaign pleading with retail giant Amazon not to open its upcoming second headquarters in a state where discrimination against LGBT workers is still legal.
According to USA Today, nine of the remaining 20 cities on the Amazon HQ shortlist are in states where LGBTQ workers have no protections: Austin, Dallas, Nashville, Atlanta, Columbus, Indianapolis, Miami, Raleigh and the suburbs of Washington, D.C. in Northern Virginia.
“We were frankly just stunned that a company with such a great track record of equality and diversity had put all these states into the mix,” Conor Gaughan, the campaign’s ad hoc manager and communications consultant, told USA TODAY. The group will demonstrate near the Amazon headquarters in Seattle on Thursday.
Amazon is known for being a supporter of LGBTQ rights and has a gay and lesbian employee group called GLAmazon.
Even if cities have anti-discrimination policies, it’s important for states to have them, as well. When state and city laws contradict, it could spell trouble for LGBTQ people.
“Cities don’t really have the ability to protect people. So you get this, ‘Married on Friday, fired on Monday’ situation,” Mary Bonauto, civil rights project director at GLBTQ Legal Advocates and Defenders, told USA Today. Bonauto is not associated with the activist group.
“Amazon should send a clear message to the states bidding for its new headquarters: Discriminatory policies are a non-starter no matter how many economic incentives are put on the table,” Joel Silberman wrote in U.S. News.
Other companies have spoken out against discriminatory laws by taking away business before. After the controversial bathroom bill HB2 passed in North Carolina, PayPal chose to take its business elsewhere and cancelled plans to open a headquarters there. Deutsche Bank halted expansion plans in the state, as well.