It seems odd to me that the year that celebrated the 50th anniversary of the March to Selma has also seen a state limit who can be served in a pizza place. Or as bills allowing anyone in love to marry their partner are sweeping across the country, in some states, caterers can refuse to serve the wedding? We stand at a crossroads of moral superiority and mutual respect, of intolerance and acceptance, of the past and the future.
We are taking the on-ramp to the future.
This week, my fellow tech Silicon Valley CEOs protested the new religious freedom laws recently enacted in Indiana and Arkansas and I stood alongside them. Protecting diversity, fairness and equality is critical to our industry and to our society. Innovation thrives when inclusion and diversity coexist. We never know where the next great idea is coming from. To exclude is to presume someone, regardless of how they look or whom they love, isn’t going to have that great idea. Not only is that a risky business strategy, it is an unacceptable human practice and one I thought we settled decades ago.
The LGBT community has enjoyed newfound acceptance in our society. That acceptance has been hard fought and well deserved, but this goes beyond a restaurant refusing to serve a LGBT couple. This goes beyond a new discriminated class. When anyone fears losing their jobs, housing, education, healthcare or being denied basic services because of who they are or whom they love, we are restricting fundamental human rights, inalienable rights at the core of the American identity, which some are so quick to cite and yet so reticent to uphold.
At 6sense, we will not do business in any state or with any organization that seeks to restrict civil liberties that should be protected under states’ laws. Period. Full stop.
I’m happy to say that the actions taken by Silicon Valley leaders have already begun driving change. This week, Indiana lawmakers, as well as those in Arkansas, signed amended versions of their religious freedom bills that prohibit business owners from refusing service to anyone based upon their gender identity or sexual orientation.
We stand on the side of justice and equality, and ask all state legislatures throughout the United States to follow this trend and enact non-discrimination laws that include sexual orientation and gender identity as protected classes. And we urge the governors and state legislatures in Arkansas and Indiana to reconsider their current legislation, which, even in its now altered forms, still reflects an intolerance that is unacceptable to us and we believe to most Americans.
We do not support discrimination in any form. We cannot and should not compromise. We invited our friends, colleagues, customers and partners — and even competitors — to join us in our opposition. We have taken a stand, and so have our peers. Will you join us in driving meaningful change?