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Tech Industry CEOs Come Out in Vocal Support of LGBT Rights

LGTB

As of last week, more than 70 top executives at some of the largest American tech firms signed a joint statement demanding that policymakers add protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender workers to anti-discrimination legislation currently on the books.

“To ensure no one faces discrimination and ensure everyone preserves their right to live out their faith, we call on all legislatures to add sexual orientation and gender identity as protected classes to their civil rights laws and to explicitly forbid discrimination or denial of service to anyone,” the statement reads.

Coordinated by Max Levchin, CEO of the online financial firm Affirm, the statement includes signatures from industry heavyweights including Twitter, eBay, Yelp and Paypal.

The move comes on the heels of the controversial Indiana law that allows business owners the right to refuse service to LGBT people on religious grounds. An ever increasing number of major American businesses, from Apple to the Gap have denounced the law. Salesforce.com CEO Marc Benioff, who also contributed his signature, led the charge against Indiana, arguing he would cancel all of the company’s travel to the state.

Under pressure from Walmart and other corporate giants, Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson refused to sign a similar religious-freedom bill last week unless lawmakers changed it to include protections against LGBT discrimination.

Human Rights Campaign, the LGBT rights advocacy group, said more executives are expected to sign the statement in the days to come.

In a public statement after the effort was announced, Chad Griffin, president of Human Rights Campaign, said: “This unprecedented and historic effort by the giants of the tech industry should be a clarion call to policymakers that discriminating against LGBT people is not acceptable in today’s marketplace of ideas … These leaders have made it clear: if states want high tech jobs, they must put fully inclusive nondiscrimination protections in place immediately.”

Read the full statement below:

The values of diversity, fairness and equality are central to our industry. These values fuel creativity and inspiration, and those in turn make the U.S. technology sector the most admired in the world today.

We believe it is critically important to speak out about proposed bills and existing laws that would put the rights of minorities at risk. The transparent and open economy of the future depends on it, and the values of this great nation are at stake.

Religious freedom, inclusion, and diversity can co-exist and everyone including LGBT people and people of faith should be protected under their states’ civil rights laws. No person should have to fear losing their job or be denied service or housing because of who they are or whom they love.

However, right now those values are being called into question in states across the country. In more than twenty states, legislatures are considering legislation that could empower individuals or businesses to discriminate against LGBT people by denying them service if it they felt it violated their religious beliefs.

To ensure no one faces discrimination and ensure everyone preserves their right to live out their faith, we call on all legislatures to add sexual orientation and gender identity as protected classes to their civil rights laws and to explicitly forbid discrimination or denial of services to anyone.

Anything less will only serve to place barriers between people, create hurdles to creativity and inclusion, and smother the kind of open and transparent society that is necessary to create the jobs of the future. Discrimination is bad for business and that’s why we’ve taken the time to join this joint statement.

Sincerely,

Max Levchin, CEO, Affirm

Mark Pincus, Chairman, Zynga

Jeremy Stoppelman, CEO, Yelp

Marc Benioff, CEO, Salesforce

Jack Dorsey, CEO, Square

Dick Costolo, CEO, Twitter

Logan Green, CEO, Lyft

Brian Chesky, CEO, AirBnB

Joe Gebbia, CPO, AirBnB

Nathan Blecharczyk, CTO, AirBnB

Ron Conway, CEO, Axon JuriMed Group LLC

John Donahoe, CEO, Ebay

Paul Graham, CoFounder, YCombinator

Rich Barton, Chairman, Zillow Group

Chad Hurley, CEO, Mixbit

Adora Cheung, CEO, Homejoy

Phil Libin, CEO, Evernote

Trevor Traina, CEO, IfOnly

Nirav Tolia, CEO, NextDoor

Dion Lim, CEO, NextLesson

Bret Taylor, CEO, Quip

Joe Lonsdale, CEO, Formation 8

Thomas Layton, Chairman, Elance-odesk

Fabio Rosati, CEO, Elance-odesk

Dave Morin, CEO, Path

Mark Goldstein, Chairman, BackOps

Kevin Rose, CEO, North Technologies

Yves Behar, CCO, Jawbone

Padmasree Warrior, CTSO, Cisco Systems

Tony Conrad, CEO, about.me

Sunil Paul, CEO, Sidecar

Michael Moritz, Chairman, Sequoia Capital

Dan Schulman, President, PayPal

Devin Wenig, President, eBay Marketplaces

Robert Hohman, CEO, Glassdoor

Laurene Powell Jobs, Founder and Chair, Emerson Collective

Mohan Warrior, CEO, Alphalight

David Spector, CIO, Penny Mac

Shervin Pishevar, CoFounder, Sherpa Ventures

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