Friday, 17 April 2015 14:01

Louisiana Gay group responds to IBM’s opposition to religious freedom bill

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ibmAfter IBM, the international technology and communications company (who has recently decided to invest in Louisiana), requested that Bobby Jindal modify his support for a controversial “religious freedom bill filed this legislative session,  the gay-rights group, Equality Louisiana offered its own perspective:


A statement from Equality Louisiana on IBM’s vocal opposition to HB 707:

The threat to job creation, economic growth and talent retention in Louisiana posed by HB 707 is not hypothetical, nor is it insignificant. The news of vocal opposition from IBM, a major corporation slated to bring over 800 jobs and $14 million in higher education funding to our state, and from Mayor Kip Holden, a figure well known for his skill in attracting business and tourism to Baton Rouge, demonstrates the severity of the negative impacts this bill will have for all Louisianians.

What happened in Indiana and Arkansas after the passage of similar bills was detrimental to the reputations and economies of those states. We can’t afford to make the same mistake here in Louisiana. 

This is a no brainer. HB 707 is bad for Louisiana citizens and bad for Louisiana businesses. Instead of allowing political ambition to wreck our state’s reputation and business climate, we hope the legislature will instead do what is clearly best for all of us and put HB 707 to rest.

Here is the letter from IBM:

The Honorable Bobby Jindal
Governor, State of Louisiana
PO Box 94004
Baton Rouge, Louisiana 70804-9004

Dear Governor Jindal,

I am writing to express IBM's strong opposition to H.B. 707, the Marriage and Conscience Act.  We are deeply concerned by reports that you intend to support this legislation.

IBM has made significant investments in Louisiana including most recently a technology services delivery center in Baton Rouge, creating new jobs for Louisiana workers.  We located the center in Baton Rouge because we believe Louisiana has great talent and would continue to be a rich source of such talent.  However a bill that legally protects discrimination based on same-sex marriage status will create a hostile environment for our current and prospective employees, and is antithetical to our company’s values.  IBM will find it much harder to attract talent to Louisiana if this bill is passed and enacted into law.

Our perspective is grounded in IBM's 104-year history and our deep legacy of diversity and inclusion - a legacy to which we remain strongly committed today.  IBM is opposed to discrimination against anyone on the grounds of race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, or other protected categories.  

We urge you to work with the Legislature to ensure this legislation is not discriminatory.

Thank you for considering our views.

James M. Driesse
Senior State Executive

The Hon. John A. Alario, Jr
President, Louisiana State Senate
State Capitol Building
PO Box 94183
Baton Rouge, Louisiana 70804

The Hon. Charles E. Checkley
Speaker, Louisiana House of Representatives
State Capitol Building
PO Box 94062
Baton Rouge, Louisiana 70804

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