CEOs sign open letter to oppose SJR 39
COLUMBIA — The nation’s largest civil rights group for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people says more than 50 executives from major companies are opposed to religious liberties resolution in front of Missouri's legislature.
The Human Rights Campaign said Wednesday the companies include Marriott International, Levi Strauss and Co., Bloomberg L.P., Time Warner Cable, Intel, Yelp, and The Hartford. Their open letter is Missouri House Speaker Todd Richardson.
The letter criticizes Senate Joint Resolution (SJR) 39, which proposes government protection for businesses and individuals that refuse to provide services because of beliefs about same-sex marriage.
"Missourians don't want to see us go back to a time when people could be turned away and discriminated against just because of who they are, or what they look like," said the president of Human Rights Campaign, Chad Griffin. "The vast majority of Americans believe laws like these -- which are designed to make LGBT people second-class citizens in their own homes, schools and communities -- are wrong.
Griffin said the measure would hurt employees and consumers, and would be "terrible for business and Missouri's economy."
In the letter, the CEOs told Richardson SJR 39 is “not an initiative that reflects the values of our companies,” and, “we were disappointed to see the Senate pass this discriminatory legislation.”
Supporters of SJR 39 say it is needed to protect businesses rather than hurt them.
The measure's sponsor, Sen. Onder, R-Lake Saint Louis, said Tuesday night, “This bill is to prevent government penalties to those who exercise their religious beliefs to deny service. This bill lets the people decide if this is important to them.”
(Editor's note: This story has been edited for length and to include Onder's quote.)