With the veto of Georgia's falsely named religious liberty bill by GOP Governor Nathan Deal, some are conjecturing that corporate America has finally decided that it is time to turn its back on ignorance embracing, anti-modernity far right Christians. The fact that North Carolina Republicans chose to ram through that state's anti-LGBT in a single day so as to close the door to corporate reaction before the bill's passage was a fait accompli in someways further the argument. Simply put, business thrives the most when the best and brightest can be recruited and made to feel welcome and at home, yet this is the antithesis of the hate and bigotry based Christofascist agenda. A column in the Washington Post looks at big business' overdue wake up call. Here are excerpts:
On Monday, Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal, a conservative Republican, said he would veto a bill that would have legalized discrimination against gay people, responding to an outcry from corporate interests including Coca-Cola, Home Depot, UPS, Walt Disney, Delta, Time Warner, Comcast, Netflix, Apple and the National Football League. As state legislators pushed the “religious liberty” bill through, Deal told them: “I hope that we can all just take a deep breath, recognize that the world is changing around us.”
Headlines of the past week show seemingly contradictory developments: Even as Georgia’s governor took a bold stand against discrimination, North Carolina’s Republican governor last Wednesday signed into law similar legislation enshrining discrimination again lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender residents.
But there is really no contradiction: Georgia’s governor vetoed the bill because it received massive public exposure and there was a resulting outcry from corporations concerned that it would offend customers and workers. North Carolina’s governor signed the bill literally in the dark of night, just before the Easter holiday weekend, after legislators introduced and passed it in a single day at a hastily convened special session — essentially slipping it into law before it could get attention and business interests could state their objections.
In both cases, you can see the effects of a new corporate citizenship that is emerging. Corporate America is traditionally conservative, reluctant to react to social controversy and divisive issues. But as public sentiment shifts dramatically on gay rights and as pro-equality millennials become a large bloc of consumers, business is shedding its reticence. This has happened, to a lesser extent, on immigration, various environmental issues and, recently, in support of Apple’s stand for consumer privacy.
Democrats and progressives see potential for a larger shift nationally in corporate political behavior, as Republicans take ideological stands on education, the Export-Import Bank, the debt ceiling and infrastructure spending that put them at odds with their traditional corporate allies.
Though it’s not clear whether that broader shift to the left will occur among corporations, there is no doubt that a dramatic change has occurred on gay rights. When the Georgia legislature took up legislation giving religious groups the right to deny services to gay people, corporations by the dozen voiced their objections. Disney and Netflix said they would stop filming in Georgia, and the NFL said the bill would jeopardize Atlanta’s hopes of hosting the Super Bowl.
On Monday, he [Governor Deal] said the religious community’s request for government protection is “ironic,” because if “indeed our religious liberty is conferred by God and not by man-made government, we should heed the ‘hands-off’ admonition of the First Amendment.”
In North Carolina, Pat McCrory and state Republicans tried to avoid the trouble Deal faced, and the similar trouble Indiana Gov. Mike Pence faced in 2014. . . . [Yet] American Airlines, Apple, Dow Chemical, PayPal and others rushed to criticize the new law. The National Basketball Association suggested it might move its 2017 All-Star Game from Charlotte.
On Tuesday, more than 80 top executives from blue-chip companies signed a letter to McCrory saying the legislation is “bad for our employees and bad for business” and will “make it far more challenging for businesses across the state to recruit” and will “diminish the state’s draw as a destination for tourism, new businesses and economic activity.”
McCrory, unlike the term-limited Deal, is up for reelection and likely hopes the issue will rally his conservative supporters. Now North Carolina will face the economic consequences of his poor choice. McCrory should have done what Georgia’s Deal proposed: take a deep breath, and recognize that the world is changing.