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The Washington Post reports that a coalition of LGBTQ supporters from government, business and the entertainment industry sent a letter to Amazon founder/CEO Jeff Bezos asking him to choose a state friendly to gay and transgender rights when he finally picks the location for the company’s second headquarters, dubbed HQ2.

While Bezos has long been a supporter of such rights - the story notes that “he and his wife, MacKenzie, donated $2.5 million in 2012 in support of same-sex marriage in Washington State and he received a national equality award last year from the Human Rights Campaign, a prominent gay and lesbian advocacy group - at least some of the locations on the list of 20 finalists are not seen as having legal protections for this community.

“Placing HQ2 in one of these states would not only be morally wrong, but also inconsistent with your stated values,” the letter to Bezos says. “We are asking you to only consider states that would protect your LGBTQ workers, their families, and your customers.”

“Eleven of the locations are in nine states — Florida, Georgia, Indiana, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia — that have not passed comprehensive legal protections for people based on their sexuality or gender,” the Post writes. “Some additionally restrict adoption rights for gay couples, bar transgender people from using the bathrooms of their choice or banned cities from instituting equal rights protections of their own.” However, “The mayors of some of the targeted cities have spoken out, saying their communities are diverse, inclusive places that should not be punished for state-level actions. And some LGBT activists have argued that putting 50,000 Amazon workers in a politically red state might bring change there.”
KC's View:
I’ve always believed that Amazon would choose either a blue or blue-leaning location for HQ2, because that would be the kind of place where it would be easier to attract a diverse workforce. While I suspect that Amazon will be able to attract pretty much anyone it wants anywhere it goes, the HQ2 location will serve as a statement, not just a location … which is one of the reasons I think Toronto, the sole non-US city, remains a wild card in this race.