Mayors Unite Against Discrimination
Ten mayors from around the country have united in response to the recent anti-LGBT laws passed in states such as North Carolina and Mississippi, as reported by QUEERtimes.
Mayors Edwin M. Lee (D-San Francisco), Ed Murray (D- Seattle), Bill de Blasio (D-New York), Jim Kenney (D-Philadelphia), Charlie Hales (D-Portland), Libby Schaaf (D-Oakland), Kirk Caldwell (D-Honolulu), Javier Gonzalez (D-Santa Fe), Muriel Bowser (D-Washington D.C.), Bob Buckhorn (D-Tampa), Martin Walsh (D-Boston), Eric Garcetti (D-Los Angeles) and Jackie Biskupski (D-Salt Lake City) came together and formed Mayors Against Discrimination (MAD).
Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant (R) recently passed House Bill 1523, which allows businesses to discriminate against LGBTs on the grounds of “religious freedom.” Similarly, North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory (R) passed House Bill 2, which “require[s] every multiple occupancy bathroom or changing facility to be designated for and only used by persons based on their biological sex” and prevents transgender citizens from using the bathroom that corresponds with their gender identity.
The mayors have already banned government employees from their respective cities from any nonessential travel to these two states. In addition, the coalition is seeking to prohibit contracting with or purchasing from businesses headquartered in those states.
According to a press release from Murray’s office, the group is also working with big companies, including Wells Fargo (No. 11 on DiversityInc’s 2015 Top 50 Companies for Diversity), “to apply direct political and economic pressure to repeal or stop the alarming spread of discriminatory laws in the United States.”
Further, the release states, the coalition will work together to “develop model resolutions that can be adopted by city councils and other legislative bodies, and other measures that Mayors and cities can take individually and collectively.”
“Some are trying to turn back the clock to a deeply flawed time in our history,” de Blasio stated. “We’ll keep doing everything we can to stand with the LGBT community, speaking out against discrimination and moving forward policies and laws like we have in New York City that allow LGBT individuals to live with the dignity and respect they deserve.”
“We have a moral and a legal obligation to root out discrimination of every kind,” said Schaaf. “Bigotry and bias have no place in government or civil society. We must stand up for justice and the civil rights of our fellow Americans. Allowing our gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender friends, family, neighbors and co-workers to be treated differently under the law undermines the very essence of our democracy and harms us all.”
“Our nation is made stronger when all Americans are treated equitably. Such blatant discrimination against our lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender neighbors is unacceptable,” said Hales.
The response echoes the backlash Indiana received last year after Gov. Mike Pence (R) signed the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) in 2015. At this time, Cummins (No. 21) and Eli Lilly and Company (No. 24), both of which are based in Indiana, led a fight against this law.