Louisiana is currently in the process of enhancing religious liberty in the state, with the full backing of Governor Bobby Jindal. House Bill 707 by Representative Mike Johnson. IBM, which has been doing some growing in Louisiana, sent a letter to legislative leaders and Jindal opposing the bill.
IBM has made significant investments in Louisiana including most recently a technology services delivery center in Baton Rouge, creating new jobs for Louisiana workers. We located the center in Baton Rouge because we believe Louisiana has great talent and would continue to be a rich source of such talent. However a bill that legally protects discrimination based on same-sex marriage status will create a hostile environment for our current and prospective employees, and is antithetical to our company’s values. IBM will find it much harder to attract talent to Louisiana if this bill is passed and enacted into law.
Our perspective is grounded in IBM’s 104-year history and our deep legacy of diversity and inclusion – a legacy to which we remain strongly committed today. IBM is opposed to discrimination against anyone on the grounds of race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, or other protected categories.
We urge you to work with the Legislature to ensure this legislation is not discriminatory.
It is, first of all, incredibly clear that IBM did not read the bill, which works to prevent local governments from pulling business licenses from businesses that operate on their owners’ faiths. It in no way legalizes discrimination, which is really becoming a tired cry from the Left. Secondly, IBM clearly has no idea what the culture in Louisiana is like if it thinks this law will create a hostile environment here.
Thirdly, good on Bobby Jindal for a quick and awesome response to IBM’s ridiculous letter, which you can read in the link. Louisiana, as he notes, already has a Religious Freedom Restoration Act on the books. This is just a supplemental bill that is inspired by the major issues we’ve seen around the country in recent months.
IBM, it should be notes (as it was over at The Hayride), that IBM also does business in countries like Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, and Yemen. You know, places that, at best, throw gays in prison (at worst, they execute them). So, IBM’s stance on this is just a wee bit awkward.