On Monday General Electric announced that it’s digital headquarters will be relocating to Atlanta—and they said Governor Nathan Deal’s veto of House Bill 757 played a role.
Jim Fowler, GE’s chief information officer, said the company would have thought twice before moving its digital headquarters to any place with legally sanctioned discrimination.
“We respect everyone’s rights, and we have a very open view to employment, and we would be hard-pressed to set up operations any place that discriminated on any basis. The fact that the governor vetoed the bill — the fact that’s not an issue here — is definitely pertinent in us putting a location here.”
HB 757 would have overturned Atlanta’s long-standing LGBT-inclusive non-discrimination ordinance as well as sanctioned LGBT discrimination in the rest of the state. HB 757 would have jeopardized economic growth from innovative companies like GE, one of a majority of corporations that already has internal policies aimed at prohibiting LGBT discrimination and fostering LGBT inclusion.
This decision comes as GE is reimagining its business model to focus more on technology and innovation—exactly the type of business Georgia needs to attract if the state wants to remain competitive economically. Tech sector leaders like Google, IBM and Microsoft with operations in Georgia were united against HB 757, because they knew it would dampen their ability to attract talented workers.
The relocation is a big win for Atlanta and Georgia, one that would have been jeopardized had the Governor not vetoed HB 757, Georgia’s “license to discriminate.”
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