Gap, Levi Strauss join companies, business leaders calling for HB1228 veto | Arkansas Blog

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Gap, Levi Strauss join companies, business leaders calling for HB1228 veto

Posted By on Tue, Mar 31, 2015 at 11:49 AM

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  • "But it's backwa... Oh, I see what you did there."
Yesterday, iconic blue jeans maker Levi Strauss & Co. and known purveyor of jeans Gap Inc. issued a joint statement condemning Arkansas's anti-gay House Bill 1228 and similar legislation recently signed into law in Indiana, saying of the laws "they must be stopped." 

The statement, issued by Levi Strauss CEO Chip Bergh and Gap Inc. CEO Art Peck, says that both companies have a long history of standing up for equal rights and equal opportunity for all, and are "proud to say we are open to business for everyone."

"These new laws and legislation, that allow people and businesses to deny service to people based on their sexual orientation, turn back the clock on equality and foster a culture of intolerance," the statement reads in part. "Discriminatory laws are unquestionably bad for business, but more importantly, they are fundamentally wrong."

Here's a link to the statement on the Levi Strauss blog. Here it is on the Gap blog

The Gap and Levi's join a growing list of companies, community leaders and high powered business titans calling HB 1228 a license to discriminate against LGBT folks that will hurt the reputation and economy of Arkansas. Among them: 

Little Rock-based information technology firm Acxiom: "HB 1228 is not wise ... from a business perspective — we have seen that it has already created a backlash in the business community of our country and is certain to bring ridicule and derision, if it becomes law. This bill is at direct odds with your position that 'Arkansas is open for business.' "

Apple CEO Tim Cook: "These bills rationalize injustice by pretending to defend something many of us hold dear. They go against the very principles our nation was founded on, and they have the potential to undo decades of progress toward greater equality."

Little Rock Mayor Mark Stodola: "Indeed, before the introduction of HB1228, the people of Arkansas have always given a high priority to religious freedom and they will continue to give religious freedom a high priority if it is not enacted. This type of legislation is simply not necessary."

Paypal co-founder and Yelp chairman Max Levchin: "I have an obligation to my employees as a CEO to ensure their workplace is safe and welcoming for everyone. As I said on Thursday, the Indiana bill is a fundamental step backwards and for any state such as Arkansas that hopes to attract high paying high-tech jobs — I sincerely hope they don't go down that same dangerous road."

Arkansas's homegrown behemoth Walmart: "Every day, in our stores, we see firsthand the benefits diversity and inclusion have on our associates, customers and communities we serve. It all starts with the core basic belief of respect for the individual. And that means understanding and respecting differences and being inclusive of all people."

Social Media giant "We're disappointed to see state bills that enshrine discrimination. These bills are unjust and bad for business. We support #EqualityForAll." 

Former NAACP Chairman, Dr. Julian Bond: "H.B. 1228 in Arkansas opens the door to a hateful past that some had thought this country had left behind. This legislation cloaks discrimination in the guise of religion—and it will mark people of color, LGBT Arkansans, religious minorities and women as second class citizens. Governor Hutchinson has a duty and a moral obligation to veto this legislation or the ghosts of the past will haunt his legacy."

Former Speaker of the House (and Republican) Davy Carter of Cabot who wrote on Twitter: "Respectfully, I would like to publicly encourage the members of the @ArkansasHouse to vote against #HB1228."

The editorial page of the Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette
: "As far as we can tell... no law prevents any Arkansan from holding a belief of any sort. HB 1228 is a problem in search of a solution. Or, worse, it carves out legal protection for people who want their religious beliefs to serve as the basis for discriminatory behavior in commerce."

The ten Little Rock chefs and restaurant owners who spoke to about HB 1228, including Trio's chef and owner Capi Peck: "This is supposed to be a hospitable state where people are genuine and sincere and friendly, and this sends a message out to people that we don't want some folks to come in, and I think that's a horrible message, an awful message. We've come so far in Arkansas through other issues, and this would be just 10, 20, 100 steps backwards." 

The Little Rock Chamber of Commerce: "While we believe that HB 1228 seeks to protect the religious freedoms of all Arkansans, it can be interpreted to provide religious protection for Arkansans who choose to discriminate against other Arkansans. This is bad for business and bad for Arkansas. Unless and until this issue is clarified by amendment in HB 1228, the Little Rock Regional Chamber of Commerce is against the bill." 

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