Nearly 150 companies, including Nike and Amazon, oppose law banning LGBT couples adopting children

Tennessee law banning LGBT couples from adoption slammed by Nike

Amazon, Nike, American Airlines and nearly 150 other companies are opposing a Tennessee law that prevents LGBT+ couples adopting children.

The law, which was signed by Tennessee governor Bill Lee in January 2020, means adoption agencies can deny service to LGBT+ couples.

The controversial measure enshrines adoption agencies the right to discriminate against same-sex couples. Lee’s office cited “religious liberty” as justification to make it law.

“We believe Tennessee’s continued growth and innovation rely on the state being open and welcoming to everyone,” the companies said in a February 5 letter.

“This law will allow child welfare organisations – including taxpayer-funded adoption and foster care agencies – to turn away qualified Tennesseans seeking to care for a child in need, including LGBTQ couples, interfaith couples, single parents, divorced people, or anyone to whom the agency has a religious objection.

“Policies that signal that the state is not welcoming to everyone put our collective economic success at risk. As we seek to maintain and grow our world-class workforce, we often face questions about whether our state is welcoming to the LGBTQ community and beyond.

“It is both a business imperative and core to our corporate values that our customers, our employees and their families, and our potential employees feel fully included in the prosperity of our state.”

The letter, which was signed by a collective called the Tennessee Businesses Against Discrimination that includes giants Amazon, Nike and American Airlines, has been sent to Lee opposing the new law.

The companies demand that lawmakers do not pursue any further legislation that targets or excludes the LGBT+ community.

One big Tennessee employer, FedEx, refused to sign. In a statement to CNN, FedEx said: “While FedEx is frequently approached to support advocacy efforts on a range of issues that often align with the company’s policies and practices, we prefer to demonstrate our values through the civic and charitable relationships that we support and the important work those organisations do for communities around the world.

“FedEx is as diverse as the world we serve, and we strive to provide an inclusive workplace in which all team members feel safe and respected.”

The Nashville LGBT Chamber of Commerce, GLAAD, the Human Rights Campaign and Freedom for All Americans organised the letter.