Thirty-five major Tennessee companies are calling on the General Assembly to stop targeting LGBT people.
The businesses have sent a letter to the legislature and the governor’s office urging them to commit to “the values of innovation and growth.”
Dell Technologies, Nashville Soccer Club and Warner Music Group are among the businesses that signed the letter. This is the second year in a row that corporations are expressing concerns over certain proposals, but this year, one is publicly saying the legislation is causing it to have doubts about expanding further in Tennessee.
Postmates, the on-demand delivery service company, has been expanding since opening a Nashville office in 2017. But Donna Drehmann, Postmate’s director of service quality and training, told reporters Wednesday that trend isn’t certain to continue.
“We do look at expanding additional technology jobs here in Nashville, however, that is in doubt and that is always in question especially when we have bills like were introduced this year,” Drehmann said.
She talked about the adoption law signed recently by Gov. Bill Lee that allows faith-based adoption agencies to refuse working with same-sex couples. Others pointed to other proposals as anti-LGBT.
Business leaders also worry about conventions and other businesses taking the state of their shortlists. Andrea Arnold, the senior vice president of public affairs of the Nashville Convention and Visitors Corporation, called the legislation “discriminatory.”
But she said she is not aware of any convention canceling an event in Nashville, and most Republicans dismiss the group’s concerns. They say there hasn’t been a company that has actually left Tennessee over these laws.
Sen. Paul Rose, R-Covington, sponsored the adoption law and told legislators a corporate backlash was unlikely.
“They don’t live in my district,” he told fellow Republican senators before the final vote on the bill last month. “And, quite frankly, they are probably moved in and bringing their babies.”