Wal-Mart, GE Pressure Has States Changing Tune on Gay Rights

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Bloomberg Business
By Thomas Black, Tim Jones and Jeffrey Green
April 2, 2015

U.S. companies are emerging as among the most outspoken — and effective — adversaries of legislation they contend would sanction discrimination against gays.

Pressure from Wal-Mart Stores Inc., Apple Inc., General Electric Co. and others persuaded Indiana lawmakers to amend a religious-freedom law and Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson to reject one bill legislators sent him. Opposition from companies may be slowing the momentum in states that are considering what critics decry as antigay measures disguised as protecting religious liberty.

For companies, defending gay rights is good for business. “Large multi-state employees have to hire and attract and retain people from all walks of life,” said Bob Witeck, a consultant whose clients include Wal-Mart and Citigroup Inc.

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