UPDATE 5/23 11AM: A reader just sent us this statement from audit, advisory and tax service provider KPMG about their role in the repealing of Nashville’s LGBT protections:
KPMG did not vote to support the Chamber’s adoption of a policy to back this bill, nor do we support the legislation, the effect of which runs counter to KPMG’s policies, core values and our long-standing support for diversity in the workplace in all its forms.
Now that word has gotten out about their board member roles in helping repeal LGBT protections for Nashville city contractors, Nissan, FedEx, AT&T, Alcoa and UnitedHealth have all offered AmericaBlog piss-poor excuses for doing so. Would you like to hear what it sounds like when huge corporations try to distance themselves from an anti-gay and anti-trans law but most stop short of actually explaining why they did or what they plan to do about it? It’s kinda like watching worms on a hook, but dumber.
AT&T does not support any laws or efforts that are discriminatory. AT&T does support the principals of ensuring that state and local laws are consistent, which is the stated purpose of HB 600/SB 632. However, the bill has become implicated in efforts to erode the rights of the gay community, which we do not support.
AmericaBLOG’s reaction: “The lead lobbyist on the bill was the religious right group. AT&T didn’t realize that when it started lobbying on the bill too – sure they didn’t. And I’m sure they had no idea they were going to repeal civil rights protections for gay and transgender Americans either, because AT&T couldn’t find any lawyers to explain what the bill was really going to do.”
FedEx did not lobby for SB632/HB600 – it is our policy not to discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. While FedEx is a member of the Tennessee Chamber of Commerce, we do not support every position proposed by the Chamber.
AmericaBLOG’s reaction: “Cute. You’re not just a member. You’re on the board of directors. That’s a far cry from being just a member who isn’t up on what’s taking place.”
We believe that consistent statewide employment standards, rather than a cumbersome array of local laws and ordinances, are essential to maintaining our state’s economic competitiveness. However, HB600/SB632 has become more closely associated with eroding civil liberties than fostering a strong business climate and this we do not support.
AmericaBLOG’s reaction: “They’re all for repealing gay and trans rights laws so as long as no one perceives the move as anti-gay or anti-trans… Nissan finds our civil rights “cumbersome.”
We did not lobby for nor support Tennessee SB632/HB600.
AmericaBLOG’s reaction: “Even though UnitedHealth denies supporting this legislation, they’re on the board of the chamber of commerce, and that chamber, that they oversee via the board, did lobby for the bill. If I were on the board of an organization that tried to repeal the 64 Civil Rights Act, for example, I have a feeling ignorance wouldn’t be much of a defense.”
Not only does that leave EIGHT companies that have still not responded, but not a single one of the respondents even bothered suggesting that they will ask the Tennessee governor to veto the bill or do anything else to help promote employee non-discrimination in the state. The only company to issue such a statement was Alcoa:
Alcoa provides equal employment opportunity without discrimination and supports state and local legislation protecting the rights of all community members. We do not agree with the chamber on this issue and would ask that the governor veto the bill.”