Oracle Corporation, a major technology company publicly considering a $1.2 billion investment in Nashville, Tennessee, has signed on to a public letter condemning “anti-LGBTQ” legislation in various states, including in — it would seem — the state of Tennessee.
The letter, published by the Human Rights Campaign, called on public officials to “abandon or oppose efforts to enact” what they call discriminatory bills. Although the letter didn’t single out specific states, the Human Rights campaign recently labeled the Tennessee legislature a “hotbed of anti-LGBTQ” bills.
“We are deeply concerned by the bills being introduced in state houses across the country that single out LGBTQ individuals – many specifically targeting transgender youth – for exclusion or differential treatment,” wrote the companies in the letter. “Laws that would affect access to medical care for transgender people, parental rights, social and family services, student sports, or access to public facilities such as restrooms, unnecessarily and uncharitably single out already marginalized groups for additional disadvantage. They seek to put the authority of state government behind discrimination and promote mistreatment of a targeted LBGTQ population.”
“As we make complex decisions about where to invest and grow, these issues can influence our decisions. America’s business community has consistently communicated to lawmakers at every level that such laws have a negative effect on our employees, our customers, our competitiveness, and state and national economies,” wrote the companies in the letter. “As business leaders dedicated to equal treatment, respect, and opportunity for all – as well as to improving the financial and investment climate across the country – we call for public leaders to abandon or oppose efforts to enact this type of discriminatory legislation and ensure fairness for all Americans.”
While Oracle is just one of dozens of companies that signed the public letter — other signatories including Microsoft, Google, Facebook, and American Airlines — the tech company has, notably, been eying an expansion in Nashville that would create around 8,500 high-paying jobs.
Mayor John Cooper, a Democrat, announced only weeks ago that Oracle Corporation was prepared to make a “billion-dollar bet” on Music City that would cover upfront infrastructure costs. “This is a huge win for our city. In an unprecedented deal structure for Nashville, no new debt is being issued and there is no burden on our taxpayers,” said the mayor.
Oracle told WKRN after the mayor’s reveal that they believe “Nashville has tremendous potential” as a future site. The Oracle deal, if finalized, would be the “largest jobs deal in state history and the fourth-biggest business investment in state records,” reports Nashville Business Review.
In response to the public letter, Governor Bill Lee (R) told News4 Nashville: “Organizations have opportunities to weigh in on the legislative process but ultimately, Tennesseans, through their elected representatives, determine the law in our state.”
The Human Rights Campaign has criticized Tennessee lawmakers over various bills in recent weeks, including a transgender sports bill that the governor signed into law in late March and, more recently, a bathroom bill for public schools called HB 1233.
“The Tennessee state legislature is quickly becoming a hotbed of anti-LGBTQ legislation run by lawmakers who are determined to discriminate against and further stigmatize LGBTQ youth instead of focusing on real problems facing Tennesseans,” HRC President Alphonso David, who previously served as counsel to Governor Andrew Cuomo, said in a statement earlier this month. “As they continue to advance harmful legislation like HB 1233 (SB 1367), their actions will have a real and negative impact on the lives of trans youth in Tennessee by enabling and empowering those who wish to discriminate against them. This bill would do nothing but lead to degrading experiences for trans students and place an undue burden on schools – we urge Governor Lee to veto this legislation.”
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