Corporate giants oppose ‘religious freedom’ bills

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Two Atlanta-based global giants are standing with LGBT activists trying to swat down controversial “religious freedom” bills being considered by state lawmakers.

On Wednesday, InterContinental Hotels Group said it's opposed to the legislation and urged lawmakers to reject it. The company, whose portfolio includes hotel brands such as Holiday Inn, Crowne Plaza and Hotel Indigo, bases its North American operations in Atlanta.

“IHG is a global hospitality company that prides itself on the diversity of its guests, employees and business partners in nearly 100 countries. Celebrating differences is one of IHG's core values and an integral part of IHG's culture. IHG has regularly voiced support for equal treatment of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community. As a result, we are concerned by proposed legislation in a number of states that would allow businesses to refuse service to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender guests and customers. The negative effects of these proposals, if passed into law, would be wide-reaching and significant for both businesses and individuals. IHG opposes these proposals and adds its voice to those urging state officials to reject them.”

IHG's opposition came a day after Delta Air Lines “strongly opposed” the measures in Georgia and a similar proposal in Arizona.

“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.”

Both companies scored a 90 on the most recent Corporate Equality Index from HRC. The score ranks companies on how they address LGBT workplace policies, benefits and consumers.

The statements are in reaction to two proposals at the Georgia Capitol: House Bill 1023 and Senate Bill 377. Critics say the proposals could open the door to anti-gay discrimination and would threaten anti-bias protections municipalities across the state put in place to protect LGBT people.

On Monday, LGBT critics of House Bill 1023 packed a legislative hearing and helped to derail the proposal. The Senate measure has passed the Judiciary Committee and could soon see a floor vote.

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