The so-called “religious freedom” movement wages on in state politics, and Georgia is poised to be the next unfortunate target. But billionaire Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff isn’t taking the blow to justice sitting down.
The pending Religious Freedom Bill passed through state legislature last week, and would allow any broadly defined “religious group” to discriminate based on a “sincerely held religious belief.” If that sounds vague and wildly open to interpretation, it is.
All that stands in the way of Georgia becoming the twenty-first state to adopt this thinly-veiled, fear-based legislature is the signature of Governor Nathan Deal.
But some opponents of the bill are making it clear that Deal’s signature will have a direct negative affect on the state’s economy, giving the governor a clear ultimatum.
Benioff has promised that if the bill is signed into law, he’ll take all of his business out of the state.
He’s fired off a series of Tweets on the subject:
Should Salesforce move http://www.salesforce.com/connections/ if @JoshMcKoon‘s anti gay bill 757 passes the Georgia legislator?
Salesforce put out this official statement: “If HB 757 is not vetoed and instead becomes law, Salesforce will have to reduce investments in Georgia, including moving the Salesforce Connections conference to a state that provides a more welcoming environment for the LGBTQ community.”
This isn’t the first time Benioff has put his money where his mouth is. Last year he fought hard against similar legislation in Indiana. Ultimately, that bill was signed into law by Governor Mike Pence.
But once it became law, Benioff ramped up his outcry even louder, ultimately resulting in Pence approving a provision of the measure that explicitly prevents business from discriminating based on sexual orientation or gender identity.
So if Georgia Governor Nathan Deal thinks the outcry will die down if he signs, he should reconsider.
Other business leaders like Richard Branson and Michael Dell have also spoken out against the Georgia bill.