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The Economic Case for LGBT Non-Discrimination

Protecting every American from discrimination is good for the economy. LGBT adults have a combined buying power of $884 billion, and business leaders know that today’s generation of consumers prefer to shop at businesses that support gay and transgender people. Top job creators prioritize communities that are welcoming to everyone—including their families, employees and customers—because they know that fair and equal protections help them compete in an increasingly global marketplace to attract and retain top talent.

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When every American is given the opportunity to work hard and earn a living, our economy, communities and state succeed.

Non-Discrimination Protections are Good for Business

Business leaders across the nation are leading the charge to secure non-discrimination protections for gay and transgender people. According to recent polls, two-thirds of small business owners (66%) don’t think businesses should be able to deny gay and transgender people goods and services based on their religious beliefs.

Economic Costs of Discrimination

Discriminatory laws aren’t just bad for gay and transgender people—they are devastating for a state’s brand and economy.

Two separate 2015 studies commissioned by the Metro Atlanta Chamber and the Atlanta Convention and Visitors Bureau found religious exemptions legislation could cost Georgia $2 billion in lost tourism revenue and investments.

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North Carolina has lost approximately $450 million in revenue and thousands of new jobs in the six months since HB 2—the most egregiously anti-transgender bill in the country—became law:

  • The Charlotte Chamber estimates the metro region has lost approximately $285 million.
  • The NBA pulled the All-Star Game costing the region more than $100 million in revenue, according to the Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority.
  • The NCAA relocated 7 championship games, which officials in Greensboro expect to cost them more than $16 million, while officials in Cary estimate they’ll lose around $2.5 million.
  • The ACC pulled its title game among 7 other championships, costing Charlotte as much as $30 million based on revenue from the 2015 game.
  • PayPal withdrew their planned expansion in North Carolina, costing the state hundreds of jobs and about $4 million in investments.
  • The Greater Raleigh Convention and Visitors Bureau estimates the law has cost their region north of $40 million in losses through this summer.

Indiana suffered economic blowback after passing a so-called religious liberty bill designed to give license to discriminate against LGBT Hoosiers.

  • Visit Indy found that Indianapolis lost more than $60 million in economic opportunities, including the loss of at least 12 conventions.
  • The Indiana Economic Development Coalition found that nearly 83% of economic investment commitments and 58% of new high-wage jobs were awarded to municipalities with human rights ordinances that protect gay and transgender people from discrimination.
  • Nationwide, a stunning 97% of events planners were aware of anti-LGBT laws passed in Mississippi and North Carolina in 2016, and nearly 50% said they would “absolutely” avoid planning events in states with discriminatory laws on the books.

The Bottom Line

Businesses are watching state legislatures. They are investing in states with laws that foster diversity, inclusion, and a robust workforce. And states that sanction LGBT discrimination simply cannot compete.

LGBT non-discrimination protections are an investment in stronger communities and a stronger economy.

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Today we thank the Macon Commissioners who voted to advance #LGBT protections—& urge a YES vote to pass them on 5/2! bit.ly/2o6Yux3 pic.twitter.com/teZCZv1edy

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