The business community has firmly declared its opposition to the “religious liberty” legislation passed by the Georgia State Senate earlier in February. Over 100 companies have joined Georgia Prospers, a business coalition committed to making sure the state “provides an open and inclusive home for all,” since the bill was sent to the Georgia House of Representatives for consideration on February 19. The coalition now consists of more than 500 businesses.
The group, which includes major Georgia-based corporations like Coca-Cola, Delta Air Lines, Home Depot, SunTrust Banks, and UPS, has been vocal in its opposition to the bill. A number of business leaders have separately expressed their opposition to the legislation. Marc Benioff, the Salesforce CEO who spoke out forcefully against a religious freedom law passed in Indiana last year, stated that his company was ready to leave Georgia if the controversial legislation passed. Paul Polman and Michael Dell, the CEOs of Unilever and Dell, later tweeted their support for Benioff. Microsoft president Brad Smith tweeted, “We agree with the Atlanta Chamber of Commerce on keeping Georgia a great place to do business.”
The bill passed by the State Senate, known as the First Amendment Defense Act, would allow individuals, businesses, and organizations to refuse goods and services to people on the basis of religious belief and essentially legalize anti-LGBT discrimination. Georgia Governor Nathan Deal and leaders in the State House have said they are working on amending the Senate bill to address business concerns.