Amazon, Taylor Swift Speak Up Against Tennessee Anti-LGBT Bills

(Bloomberg) -- Amazon, Alliance Bernstein, the NFL’s Tennessee Titans and Taylor Swift are among the wide swath of Nashville business interests urging lawmakers to reject a pair of anti-LGBT bills advancing quickly in the state legislature.

Amazon.com Inc., which is planning a $230 million campus for as many as 5,000 new employees in Nashville, joined almost a dozen companies in opposing a bill that would allow faith-based adoption agencies to reject same-sex couples and another that would defend public schools’ authority to restrict transgender students’ access to bathrooms.

“Legislation that explicitly or implicitly allows discrimination against LGBT people and their families creates unnecessary liability for talent recruitment and retention, tourism, and corporate investment to the state,” read the open letter Amazon signed and which was organized by the Nashville LGBT Chamber of Commerce.

Nashville-based Bridgestone North Americas also signed the letter, as did Dell Inc., Salesforce.com Inc., Postmates Inc. and other companies with big operations in the state. Money manager AllianceBernstein Holding LP, which last year announced it was moving its headquarters to Nashville from Manhattan, was one of the first big firms to publicly denounce the legislation.

Both bills have already passed the state’s lower House chamber and are expected to pass in the Senate as early as Tuesday. Governor Bill Lee, who took office in January, is widely expected to sign them.

During the 2019 National Football League draft last week in Nashville, the Tennessee Titans issued a statement cautioning state lawmakers that the legislation would “impact our ability to secure events like the 2019 NFL Draft, major conventions, major athletic contests and other events that benefit our local and state economy.”

Earlier this month, Swift made a $113,000 donation to the Tennessee Equality Project, an LGBTQ advocacy group in the state. “I’m so inspired by the work you do, specifically in organizing the recent petition of Tennessee faith leaders standing up against the ‘slate of hate’ in our state legislature,” she wrote in a letter accompanying her donation that the group posted to Facebook.

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