Campaign: Amazon shouldn’t build new headquarters in states without LGBT protections

Amazon to hire 1,500 full time employees at Mid-State facilities (Image 1)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Nashville and 19 other cities anxiously await Amazon’s decision on where new headquarters will be located. But a nationwide campaign claims Tennessee, and a number of other states, shouldn’t be considered.

The campaign is called ‘No Gay No Way’, and the group claims that states without LGBT non-discrimination laws should be left out of the conversation.

Their ad is making the rounds in Nashville.

No Gay No Way focuses on nine states, where 11 of the 20 HQ2 finalists reside.

(Courtesy: No Gay No Way)

The group says the states in question “…fail to protect lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) employees people from discrimination in employment, housing, and public accommodations.”

State Senator Jeff Yarbro disagrees. He says Nashville is plenty progressive, but recognizes that controversial anti-LGBT bills on the state level have topped headlines the last few years.

Those bills include the much discussed ‘bathroom bill’, as well as last year’s “Natural Marriage Defense Act”.

“I think you look at the city of Nashville, it’s a city that time and time again demonstrated that it’s a welcoming inclusive place,” noted Senator Yarbro, Democrat from District 21. “There’s no question that some of our legislators have put political posturing ahead of things that actually matter to the state, and that’s not without consequence.”

On the line for these cities is a new state of the art Amazon facility, a reported $5-billion boon to the local economy, and 50-thousand new jobs.

The Tennessee Equality Project (TEP) hopes our state won’t miss out.

“We think good jobs coming to Tennessee is good for LGBT people,” said Chris Sanders, Executive Director.

TEP is a leader in the local LGBT community. The group believes No Gay No Way’s mission is misguided.

“We are open to working with anybody who wants to work long term for the change,” added Sanders. “One thing we think could help, is have more inclusive employers headquartered here, and showing the benefits of it. So we have a difference in philosophy on this.”

Chris Fleming, Spokesman for No Gay No Way, sent the following statement to News 2:

We are thrilled with the momentum in the first few weeks, helping to draw attention to the lack of protections for LGBT Americans across the country, including in Tennessee. Legislators in the state of Tennessee have a golden opportunity to repeal laws that prohibit cities from passing anti-discrimination measures, pass state laws that protect LGBT Tennesseans and attract businesses like Amazon that will create jobs. We are grateful for the tireless work of local organizations in fighting against discriminatory bills & legislation, and working towards equality and protections. We hope that our future actions – which you’ll have to stay tuned for – helps pressure Amazon and more importantly Tennessee lawmakers to do what is right for the hundreds of thousands of LGBT Tennesseans.