Discrimination is bad for business—and bad for Georgia
Georgia is open for business, serving as home base for creative entrepreneurs to some of the largest corporations in this country. In fact, Georgia was recently named the best state in the country to do business by CNBC, Site Magazine, and Area Development Magazine.
The international reputation we’ve cultivated as a business hub is due to our state's commitment to celebrating diversity and supporting business through smart and engaging policy.
However, Georgia's economic growth and reputation are threatened by previously proposed legislation that created a license to discriminate against Georgia citizens under the guise of religious freedom. In Arizona, similar legislation sparked a national outcry. Religious freedom is a fundamental part of America and our state, and we value our religious beliefs. But those beliefs do not allow us to discriminate or justify intolerance.
Our state’s strong economy and vibrant business community are a result of our diverse workforce and welcoming environment. Allowing discrimination against members of the LGBT community, people of various faiths, and other minorities hinder our state’s ability to attract businesses and compete in the global economy. More importantly, it undermines the greatest economic resources of Georgia: its people.
Proposed legislation would allow people to pick and choose which laws they want to follow based on their religious beliefs. This is dangerous for Georgia and its economy:
Georgia-based businesses and corporations could be forced to relocate to other states in order to recruit the best and brightest talent.
Georgia's pro-business reputation will be tarnished, and it will weaken our ability to attract new investment, jobs, and industry into our state.
Young entrepreneurs and technology start-ups will be reluctant to locate and invest in a state that legalizes discrimination.
Boycotts targeting Georgia could prevent the Super Bowl, SEC Championship games, and other athletic events from occurring in our state.
Discrimination against anyone is not good for business. Georgians overwhelmingly agree with treating everyone fairly and equally. In a statewide poll conducted last year, 79% of Georgia voters said it should be or probably should be illegal for government employers to discriminate against their employees based on sexual orientation or gender identity. In another statewide poll, 63% of voters do not support religious beliefs as a reason for discrimination.
Unfortunately, it is still legal for someone to be fired based solely on their sexual orientation or gender identity. Instead of allowing individuals to use their religious beliefs to harm others, Georgia’s laws should be modernized to protect its LGBT citizens from discrimination.