“I believe that every consumer has a right to be served by a business without fear of discrimination,” Yelp’s CEO wrote in an open letter to Gov. Jan Brewer. Updates: Delta and PetSmart speak out against the bill.
In an open letter posted Tuesday, Yelp joined the intensifying chorus of organizations and businesses calling on Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer to veto religious freedom legislation that many opponents say would lead to discrimination against LGBT people.
Intel, too, said Tuesday it supports calls for Brewer to veto the measure, Senate Bill 1062, which opponents say will allow for open discrimination against LGBT based on religious beliefs of business owners and individuals.
“I believe that every consumer has a right to be served by a business without fear of discrimination,” said Yelp CEO Jeremy Stoppelman in the letter. “The language of this proposed law would set a dangerous precedent that would allow businesses in Arizona to discriminate against consumers. This is not only wrong, but taints the otherwise stellar reputation of Arizona as a state that excels in attracting new businesses.”
Intel, the California-based semiconductor chip making giant, has voiced its support for a veto of SB 1062 through backing the efforts of Arizona business organizations to which the company belongs, according to Intel Communications Manager Rachel Sutherland.
“Arizona Senate Bill 1062 would legalize actions that directly conflict with Intel’s own non-discrimination policy,” the company said in a statement provided to BuzzFeed. “That policy was developed in order to create a welcoming business climate for our employees, suppliers and the global marketplace. We believe that SB 1062 would have a detrimental effect on the local business community by promoting discord and damaging Arizona’s status as a hospitable place to grow business and attract top talent.”
Ultimately, allowing the bill to become law would be bad for businesses in Arizona, the companies said.
For its part, Intel employs about 11,900 people in Arizona and the company’s campuses there are home to its largest high-volume manufacturing facilities. Yelp has hired more than 650 employees in Arizona and said it plans to add hundreds more in the coming years. “[I]t would be unconscionable for the state to encourage discrimination against any of them,” Stoppelman said.
Several corporations, including other tech companies like Apple and AT&T, have also urged Brewer to reject Senate Bill 1062, saying it will simply be bad for business in the state. The concerns from businesses come amid mounting pressure aimed at Brewer to veto the bill and a firestorm of criticism directed at Arizona for approving what some say is a discriminatory policy.
The state has been the target of intense criticism since the House passed the bill last Thursday, but, thus far, Brewer has declined to say if she will sign the bill into law or veto it before her deadline this Saturday.
UPDATE — 6:20 p.m. ET: PetSmart CEO David Lenhardt said the company is “absolutely opposed” to SB 1062 during an interview on CNBC’s “Closing Bell.”
“Arizona is good for business, but this bill is not and it undermines that, and that’s why we are urging the governor to veto this bill,” Lenhardt told CNBC’s Kelly Evans. “We are hearing this both from our associates and our customers. At PetSmart, diversity and inclusion is a key piece of who we are. It’s a key piece of our culture. We fundamentally believe our communities, our customers, and our associates all deserve equal respect, and this bill does not do that, and that’s why we are absolutely opposed to it and urging the governor to veto it.”
UPDATE — 6:45 p.m. ET: Delta issued a statement saying it “strongly opposes” Arizona’s SB 1062 and similar legislation proposed in Georgia:
“As a global values-based company, Delta Air Lines is proud of the diversity of its customers and employees, and is deeply concerned about proposed measures in several states, including Georgia and Arizona, that would allow businesses to refuse service to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals. If passed into law, these proposals would cause significant harm to many people and will result in job losses. They would also violate Delta’s core values of mutual respect and dignity shared by our 80,000 employees worldwide and the 165 million customers we serve every year. Delta strongly opposes these measures and we join the business community in urging state officials to reject these proposals.”