Microsoft, Dell, Virgin head honchos come out against Georgia’s anti-gay bill

On Friday we reported the latest on Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff’s opposition to an anti-gay hybrid so-called “religious freedom” bill, including a Twitter poll he posted and a little back-and-forth between him and state Sen Josh McKoon (R-Columbus) as well.

But following Benioff’s poll and dust-up came word from the heads of several big name corporations with one message—support for Benioff and opposition to HB 757. And many linked to a Friday New York Times editorial with the headline “A Georgia bill shields discrimination against gays,” so you gather which side they land on. An excerpt:

The bill’s backers say they are trying to protect religious freedom. But they know full well that the measure is nothing more than a legal shield for discrimination. Georgians are free to believe as they choose, and to say whatever they want to whomever they want about their views on marriage. But when they enter the public sphere, and particularly when they benefit from taxpayer dollars, they are not free to ignore any law that doesn’t align with their personal religious views on marriage.

Michael Dell, founder and CEO of the computer giant Dell, then tagged Benioff and linked to the NYT editorial in his tweet:

Richard Branson, founder of the Virgin Group, retweeted Benioff and added his own thoughts:

Paul Polman, CEO of multinational consumer goods company Unilever, retweeted Human Rights Campaign executive director Chad Griffin and backed Benioff:

And Brad Smith, president and chief legal officer of Microsoft, linked to the NYT editorial and name-checked the Atlanta Chamber:

Today is Crossover Day at the Gold Dome, i.e. the last day for bills to move from one chamber to the other and still pass before the end of the session in March. Gov. Nathan Deal is reportedly still working with House and Senate leadership to clean up the mess that’s caused the national backlash, but HB 757 already crossed over so don’t expect any news on it today outside of further opposition from business and other interests.