Tennessee is a great place to do business: Corporate investments and entrepreneurship are growing. Visitors to the state spent more than $22 billion in 2018. We have one of the nation’s lowest unemployment rates. Tennessee’s thriving economy is proof that business-friendly legislative efforts have paid off.
We believe Tennessee’s continued growth and innovation rely on the state being open and welcoming to everyone. The recent passage of HB 836 sends the opposite message. This law will allow child welfare organizations -- including taxpayer-funded adoption and foster care agencies -- to turn away qualified Tennesseans seeking to care for a child in need, including LGBTQ couples, interfaith couples, single parents, divorced people, or anyone to whom the agency has a religious objection.
Policies that signal that the state is not welcoming to everyone put our collective economic success at risk. As we seek to maintain and grow our world-class workforce, we often face questions about whether our state is welcoming to the LGBTQ community and beyond. It is both a business imperative and core to our corporate values that our customers, our employees and their families, and our potential employees feel fully included in the prosperity of our state.
We ask that lawmakers not pursue any further legislation that would target or exclude LGBTQ people, which would do harm to Tennesseans and create unnecessary hurdles to economic competitiveness. We urge policymakers to remain committed to the values of innovation and growth that we all share.
TN Small Business Signers
Concord: “The creative community in TN, and especially in Nashville, is essential to the state’s culture and economy. It is a community that was built on inclusiveness and continues to thrive because of it.The signing of HB 0836 / SB 1304 into law does not reflect the type of inclusiveness that Concord believes makes better communities, creative works, and culture.
Concord will continue to speak out against any laws that threaten its stakeholders and have therefore added our name to an ever-expanding list of TN businesses that oppose such legislated discrimination.”
Mars Petcare: “At Mars, we believe our business and our community are at their best when we embrace and celebrate all people. We firmly believe that everyone is equal and that every person deserves to be treated with respect, dignity, and fairness.
We value our presence across the state of Tennessee and continue to invest here as it has been a great place to do business. Discrimination has no place in our business or our laws. We strongly oppose any bill that would negatively impact our entire community and the thriving business environment that we currently have. We respectfully ask Gov. Lee to veto it.”
Nashville Hospitality Industry: “Nashville is an open, welcoming city that respects and embraces the differences among us, and we believe that our differences make our community stronger. Discriminatory legislation does not reflect the inclusive culture of our city. We are disappointed that some of these discriminatory bills have advanced, harming our city’s reputation as a great place to do business and host conventions. We will continue to work with the city, business leaders and the 450 members in the Tennessee Thrives business coalition who share our commitment to inclusivity. We look forward to further conversations with state leaders about the harmful economic impact of discriminatory bills. Music is the universal language, and everyone is welcome in Music City.”
Nashville Soccer Club: “As a major league sports club approaching our inaugural season in Major League Soccer, we carefully selected diversity and inclusion as two of our core values as an organization. We cannot and do not condone discrimination of any form, or support legislation that explicitly or implicitly allows discrimination against LGBTQ people and their families. Our team, and we believe our city, should be open to all, regardless of sexual orientation, gender, ethnic origin or race, and we stand as proudly with the LGBTQ community as we do with all other communities.”
Postmates: “Postmates continues to be alarmed by the Lee Administration’s anti-LGBTQ agenda, particularly as we consider expanding our presence in the Volunteer State. It is impossible for Tennessee to be a great place to do business while its government imposes policies of exclusion and discrimination. State leaders cannot and will not be able to expect companies like ours to power its economic engines while supporting legislation that undermines our ability to feel welcome in this state unless they commit to a new pathway to include all families & all workers. HB 386 undermines businesses’ ability to recruit top talent and grow in the state by policies that say not all are welcome — and it’s just plain wrong. To our Postmates fleet, our customers, our small business owners, our entire community: we stand with you no matter who you love or who you are, and we will not accept this kind of flagrant hatred.
ServiceSource: “Although our company is headquartered in Colorado, we have a significant presence in Nashville (over 700 employees in the city center) and we were recently made aware of the proposed legislation that would disadvantage our LGBT community members, as well as the open letter to the legislature sponsored by your organization. We at ServiceSource are committed to equality and believe that policies and laws that promote tolerance and equal opportunity are critical not only to business but to society.”
Warner Music Group: "WMG is proud of its longstanding presence in Tennessee. The continued success and growth of our business here depends on our ability to recruit and retain a best-in-class, diverse workforce. We often receive questions about whether Tennessee is a welcoming and inclusive place to live for the LGBT community. These bills send a clear message that LGBT artists, songwriters and employees are not welcome.”