Right now, Georgia is eyeing two anti-LGBT “religious exemption” bills: the “Pastor Protection Act” ensuring that pastors won’t being sued for refusing to perform same-sex marriages, and the “First Amendment Defense Act” which would let religious non-profits deny services to same-sex couples. In response, a group of more than 400 businesses calling themselves Georgia Prospers has come out against the latter bill, stating that it runs counter to Georgia’s friendly culture. But there’s another reason that people should oppose it: namely, such bills are financially harmful to everyone, whether you’re employed, an LGBT-person or just an average citizen.
In January 2016, The Center for Talent and Innovation — a project of 80 global corporations and organizations representing nearly 6 million employees in 192 countries — published “Out in the World: Securing LGBT Rights in the Global Marketplace”, a study of 1,964 LGBT professionals and 10,242 non-LGBT professionals in 10 countries around the world. The study revealed the negative impact of anti-LGBT laws on businesses, their employees and the world economy.
They also released an infographic about those harms, and illustrated what businesses can do to help make countries more LGBT-friendly, benefitting employees and citizens both. We’ve included shots from the infographic below.
Here’s some of the study’s findings, as outlined in The Economist:
“- One in five closeted LGBT employees said staying closeted at work “reduced their ambition and caused them to work less.
– Almost 30 percent of closeted employees said “hiding their identity kept them from speaking up or sharing innovative ideas at work.”
– Closeted employees are three times more likely to leave their companies in the next year, compared to their openly LGBT colleagues
– Forty-two percent of LGBT employees around the world reported that they had experienced discrimination in the last five years because of their identity.”
Even if you’re not LGBT-identified, queerphobia still hurts your community and pocketbook. According to The Economist, “India lost $23.1 billion in 2012, owing to depression, suicide, and HIV treatment disparities caused by anti-gay stigma and discrimination.”
One of the members of Georgia Prospers is actually Salesforce, the company that moved out of Indiana when that state passed anti-LGBT legislation in 2015. Salesforce has threatened to leave Georgia if they pass the two aforementioned laws.
In response, Republican Georgia Senator Joshua McKoon has called Salesforce hypocritical for doing business in India and Singapore — two countries where same-sex relationships are illegal. But McKoon is missing the point: Salesforce can help change Georgia’s culture by leaving it, just as they can also help transform India and Singapore by staying and influencing their governments.