State's LGBTQ Stance May Quash Hopes for Amazon HQ
At least according to company shareholder William S. Smith
Amazon shareholder William S. Smith has asked the company's board of directors to consider locating its second headquarters in a state with comprehensive LGBTQ protections. In a letter circulated to other shareholders on Tuesday, May 29, Smith wrote that selecting a state where queer folks face legal discrimination would be "tantamount to condoning discrimination."
Should Amazon heed Smith's call, Austin would be nixed from the list. Despite its standing as a queer-friendly city, the state of Texas is well-known to have anti-LGBTQ laws on its books. Just last year, the state Legislature passed a religious freedom bill allowing foster care providers the right to deny queer people (as well as single folks and non-Christians) fostering and adoption rights. And it's still legal here to discriminate based on a person's sexual orientation, gender identity, or expression. Smith's letter echoes the No Gay? No Way! campaign, which spotlighted the nine states on Amazon's HQ2 finalist list that don't currently offer protections for members of the LGBTQ community. Smith believes that choosing such a location would "hurt employee recruitment, lower LGBTQ retention rates, diminish Amazon's ability to attract the most creative and innovative workforce, and pose significant risk to Amazon's market value."