Local politics may be the deciding factor in battle for Amazon’s HQ2

As the search for Amazon’s second headquarters continues, Bloomberg reports that the winning metropolitan area may well determined, at least in part, by an array of complex and subtle political considerations, including the status of nondiscrimination law in competing municipalities. Amazon’s elite workforce will demand “a compatible cultural and community environment” – which some observers interpret to mean that HQ2 will need to be located in a place where local and state laws are considered sufficiently progressive to protect LGBT+ employees and their families.

Campaigns like No Gay No Way, which is funded by advocates for LGBT+ equality, are urging Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos and other decision makers to rule out competing metropolitan areas which are located in states that do not offer adequate legal protections for LGBT+ citizens. Other lifestyle factors may also have a big role to play in Amazon’s decision, including the availability of bike paths and public transportation, as well as whether a city has a diverse and thriving food culture. 

Bezos is a vocal supporter of LGBT+ rights. He and his wife donated $2.5 million to the gay marriage campaign in 2012, and he has received the national equality award from the Human Rights Campaign.

“[Bezos] is one of those executives who wants to be remembered as being on the right side of history,” said Thomas O’Guinn, a marketing professor at the University of Wisconsin school of business told Bloomberg. “Part of the quid pro quo is there will be none of this stupid gender bathroom stuff. They are going to demand that the city do everything it can to fight voter suppression. They are going to demand high attention paid to meaningful spending on the environment and more efficient greenhouse reductions.”

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