Activists Are Demanding Amazon’s Help inside Fight Against Anti-LGBT Laws In Tennessee

A group of LGBT activists sent a letter to members of the Glamazons, an LGBTQ+ employee resource group at Amazon, on Monday asking them to pressure company management to fight anti-LGBT laws in Tennessee.

Amazon announced plans last November to open a 5,000-employee office in Nashville, Tennessee, where legislators are currently debating bills which would likely ban gay couples by adopting along with also getting married, along with also which would likely restrict transgender people’s access to public bathrooms.

“These laws are horribly anti-gay along with also would likely hurt Amazon employees along with also their families for years to come,” said Marc Solomon, a gay rights advocate along with also signatory of the letter. “I expect a lot more leadership out of Amazon, along with also which’s why we’re asking the Glamazons for help.”

The activist group is actually asking the Glamazons “to demand Amazon publicly condemn these anti-LGBT bills along with also fight to repeal existing state laws which discriminate against you along with also your families.”

“If Amazon is actually going to be PROUD to invest in Tennessee, if Glamazons are to remain PROUD Amazon employees of a company standing for LGBT equality, please use your power along with also voice to fight — PROUDLY — for your rights,” the letter reads. “For Amazon to be serious about LGBT rights, they should financially support the Tennessee advocacy groups fighting these bills, along with also they should put their own social along with also political capital to Great use. Amazon has the power to make a difference.”

Conor Gaughan, the director of the campaign, which is actually called “No Gay No Way,” said the group addressed the letter to the Glamazons because they believe some activist employees are willing to put pressure on management.

”Given which in particular Tennessee along with also Texas have laws which are discriminatory along with also are looking at adding more, along with also the company is actually looking to bring employees into which marketplace, This particular made sense to ask the employees who would likely be affected to ask them to make change,” Gaughan told BuzzFeed News.

The letter is actually the latest inside No Gay No Way campaign’s efforts to pressure Amazon to use its political weight inside fight for LGBT rights. During Amazon’s search for a second headquarters last year, This particular became clear which local government officials were more than willing to make concessions to entice the company, which spent $14.2 million on lobbying last year. Last March, No Gay No Way published a letter to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos demanding which he restrict the HQ2 selection to LGBT-friendly states. Amazon ended up announcing plans to open offices in both Virginia’s Crystal City along with also brand-new York City, as well as a smaller office in Nashville; in February, the company pulled out of brand-new York under pressure by local activists along with also politicians over tax breaks.

More recently, the No Gay No way campaign bought ads on mobile billboards in Seattle along with also in print along with also online in Tennessee along with also Virginia which urge Amazon to speak out against anti-LGBT laws.

One such mobile billboard shows an Amazon Alexa device reading out headlines about Tennessee’s proposed political bills, including “Tennessee targets gay marriage, bathrooms for LGBT individuals,” “Tennessee bill would likely allow adoption agencies to discimiante,” along with also “Tennessee lawmakers propose anti-LGBT ‘slate of hate.’” Another said, “Hey Amazon, can your LGBT employees, families, along with also customers in Tennessee count on you to deliver?”

In response to the ads, an Amazon spokesperson told The Tennessean, “Amazon includes a long history of supporting equality along with also we’re opposed to laws which discriminate or encourage discrimination.”

Tech employees along with also external watchdogs have increasingly pressured companies over the last year to make ethical business decisions. Amazon employees presented executives having a letter in November demanding reconsideration of the company’s deals with government agencies to build surveillance technologies. Google, Microsoft, along with also Salesforce (San Francisco’s largest tech employer) have also come under similar pressure. Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff has previously threatened to cancel lucrative conferences in states such as Georgia along with also Indiana which pass anti-LGBT legislation.

According to the No Gay No Way letter, Amazon has advocated for LGBT rights in Texas, along with Google along with also Facebook. Bezos himself previously donated $2.5 million to support an LGBT rights campaign in Seattle in 2012.

“This particular is actually a huge company with tremendous political along with also financial capital, in every state inside country,” Gaughan said. “We want them to use which power to definitely drive positive change. I think which means donating to groups on the ground doing the hard work, which means doing public statements, which means leading with various other business coalition who are working hard in a lot of these places to defeat these bills.”

Here’s the full text of the letter LGBT activists sent to Amazon employees:

Dear Glamazons,
We know you take PRIDE in who you are, take PRIDE in your company, along with also take PRIDE in fighting for LGBT Rights. So do we.

As you’ve seen inside news, Tennessee is actually considering brand-new anti-LGBT legislation to further minimize LGBT existence inside state. Here is actually the “Slate of Hate” currently proceeding through the state legislature:

  • HB 836, SB 1304, HB 1152, SB 848, bills to create a license to discriminate for taxpayer-funded adoption along with also foster care services to refuse to place children with qualified families if the family doesn’t share all of the agency’s religious beliefs.
  • SB 1282, HB 1369, bills to defy the Supreme Court ruling along with also try to ban the freedom to marry for LGBT couples.
  • HB 563, bill to give businesses a broad license to discriminate against LGBT people, preventing local municipalities by

    implementing policies which bar taxpayer funds by being used by businesses along with also contractors, to discriminate against LGBT

    people.

  • SB 1499, HB 1274, bills to require the Tennessee Attorney General to either pay for legal costs, or itself defend,

    discriminatory anti-transgender school policies.

  • HB 1151, SB 1297, bills to enable harassment of transgender people in public places.

    These are on top of the existing archaic statutes which ban cities along with also counties by passing non-discrimination laws, explicitly exclude transgender health coverage along with also care through Medicaid along with also transgender inclusive health benefits for state employees.

    They don’t need more.

    As Amazon invests millions of dollars in Tennessee, the state legislature is actually currently debating brand-new state laws which will discriminate against LGBT people. which could have real impacts upon Amazon customers, colleagues, friends, families, along with also neighbors.

  • Imagine if you wanted to start a family, nevertheless you can’t because you aren’t eligible for adoption because you are LGBT.
  • Imagine being denied an apartment inside neighborhood you want to live in because you are transgender.
  • Imagine your partner being fired by their job for being married to you.

    The time is actually right now to demand Amazon publicly condemn these anti-LGBT bills along with also fight to repeal existing state laws which discriminate against you along with also your families. Amazon has done This particular in Texas, along with also the threat in Tennessee is actually just as real.

    If Amazon is actually going to be PROUD to invest in Tennessee, if Glamazons are to remain PROUD Amazon employees of a company standing for LGBT equality, please use your power along with also voice to fight – PROUDLY – for your rights.

    For Amazon to be serious about LGBT rights, they should financially support the Tennessee advocacy groups fighting these bills, along with also they should put their own social along with also political capital to Great use. Amazon has the power to make a difference.

    nevertheless, which power starts with you – the LGBT employees; we are here to support you for doing This particular.

Regards,

Diane Abbitt John Aravosis Mary Breslauer Bruce Cohen Chris Cormier Maggiano James Dozier Blake Franklin Conor Gaughan Rufus Gifford Neil Giuliano Patrick Guerriero Aditi Hardikar Lane Hudson Dave Hughes Kevin Jennings Surina Khan Sharon K. Malheiro Terrence Meck David Mixner Charles Myers Christine Quinn Todd Sears Omar Sharif Jr. Michael Silverman Bill Smith Marc Solomon Camilla Taylor Urvashi Vaid Bernard Whitman Evan Wolfson Peter Yacobellis