On Tuesday morning, PayPal canceled a project to open a Charlotte operations center and bring another 400 jobs to North Carolina, thanks to a controversial new law that critics say promotes discrimination against gay people in the state.
On Tuesday afternoon, the governor of Mississippi passed a law that allows religious organisations and businesses to refuse service for gay weddings, or to cite believes about sexual orientation and sexual identity when making some employment decisions.
On top of that, the new law also says, point blank: “Sexual relations are properly reserved to such a marriage” … that is a marriage between a man and a woman.
Many in the tech industry have been waging a war against states who are rushing to pass similar perceived “anti-gay” laws in response to the Supreme Court ruling last summer that made gay marriage a right in all 50 states.
They don’t want to bring employees or visitors to these states and expose them to discrimination, those speaking out say.
But the fight against such legislation has been one step forward, two steps back.
For instance, Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff, a big employer in Indiana, led pressure that caused the Indiana governor to modify a similar law passed last year, but not repeal it.
A huge litany of tech companies, including Benioff, convinced the Georgia Governor to veto a similar bill by threatening to limit investment in the state if he did sign it.
So far North Carolina hasn’t budged, but it might now that it is facing actual repercussions such as PayPal’s, among other examples.
With word that Mississippi has gone forward and passed this law, the tech industry is speaking out again.
Benioff is calling on people to contact their own CEOs to make public statements against the law.
What’s the most effective way for you to tell your CEO to speak against N.Carolina & Mississippi’s anti-gay laws?
— Marc Benioff (@Benioff) April 5, 2016
Microsoft’s top lawyer, Brad Smith, tweeted out a this condemnation of the law.
IBM also formally condemned the law: