Salesforce CEO says he’ll pull out of Georgia if religious freedom law passes there

Salesforce CEO Mark Benioff

Salesforce CEO Mark Benioff AP

Salesforce CEO Mark Benioff, who oversees 16,000 employees, says he’ll nix an upcoming company conference in Georgia if the state’s governor, Nathan Deal, doesn’t veto a religious freedom law that just passed the legislature there, Vanity Fair reports.

The law would allow faith-based religious organizations, to discriminate against LGBTQ people based on a “sincerely held religious belief” about marriage, the article says.

Tweeted Benioff, “One [sic] again Georgia is trying to pass laws that make it legal to discriminate. When will this insanity end?” He also put a question to his followers on Twitter: Should Salesforce divest from Georgia if the bill is signed into law? Eighty percent said yes.

This week, Salesforce put out a statement: “If HB 757 is not vetoed and instead becomes law, Salesforce will have to reduce investments in Georgia, including moving the Salesforce Connections conference to a state that provides a more welcoming environment for the LGBTQ community.”

This is not the first time Benioff has stood up to such bills. He did it last year with a similar bill in Indiana that passed anyway…but after a nationwide outcry, the law’s language was softened.

Michael Dell and Richard Branson have also stated their opposition to Georgia’s bill. Optimistically, the governor there has signaled that he is no fan of the bill, which is widely opposed by the business community.

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