In an effort to continue to let you know which businesses are supporting the LGBT community and which are resoundingly silent on the subject, we want to highlight Marriott’s CEO, Arne Sorenson today.
He spoke out recently about the infamous House Bill 2 in North Carolina that permits discrimination against the LGBT community.
He wrote a first-opinion piece for CNBC stating: “I was asked to join a group of American business leaders and CEOs in opposing North Carolina’s HB2, a bill passed recently that sanctions LGBT discrimination across that state.”
“For Marriott and for me, this was an easy call. The law does not reflect our values or a basic principle that helps drive new jobs and economic growth in North Carolina and beyond: Everyone deserves to be welcome. We are disappointed with the unusual speed that was given to passing and signing this legislation into law, undoubtedly an attempt to minimize public outcry.”
“Undeterred, I’m pleased to see that we are aligned with civil rights advocates, as well as most of the state’s top employers and job creators in calling for HB2 to be repealed. We’ve also heard a chorus of objections from major sporting leagues and organizers of popular North Carolina events, like the upcoming High Point Market Week that celebrates the state’s outstanding furnishings and design industry. At Marriott, we are also hearing from concerned customers and local employees.”
“Mutual respect and open discourse encourage all parties involved to craft reasonable solutions to real challenges,” he added. “It’s regrettable that did not occur in North Carolina. We have seen this happen elsewhere, where haste and political expediency produce laws that ultimately diminish a state’s reputation along with its appeal for tourism, job creation and economic activity. I hope more state leaders will learn from these missteps.”
Sorenson believes “state law need not discriminate against one group to protect another. … It dismays many of us that, in 29 states, people are still at risk of losing their job just for being gay or transgender.”
Sorenson went on to endorse the Equality Act stating that “Marriott recently joined with scores of American business leaders to endorse Congressional passage of the Equality Act – which for the first time, will set uniform, federal protections in place that include sexual orientation and gender identity.”
He also makes the point of supporting the LGBT community as simply common sense and smart business practice. “To be competitive in the world today, America needs everyone’s skills. Including LGBT people in that effort is not simply the right thing to do, it’s also essential for business.”