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Corporate Support for LGBTQ Rights Hits a Wall in Tennessee

Words by Tina Casey

Published 03-11-20

Submitted by Bridgestone Americas

Image credit: Nashville Pride/Facebook

Without support from strong federal policies ensuring LGBTQ rights, corporate leaders who are striving for diversity and inclusion have little leverage to push back against discriminatory state legislation. That problem is clearly evident in the latest development, which concerns new anti-LGBTQ legislation in Tennessee.

LGBTQ rights: letters are only a start

The Tennessee discrimination issue made national news last week, when almost 150 local businesses and major corporations signed onto a letter of protest against anti-LGBTQ legislation.

The open letter, organized by the Nashville LGBT Chamber of Commerce and supported by the organizations Freedom for All AmericansGLAAD and HRC, was sent to state legislators after Tennessee Governor Bill Lee signed House Bill 836 into law.

Assuming it survives challenges in court, the new law eliminates otherwise qualified LGBTQ persons from the pool of adoptive and foster parents. Many other people would be also be disqualified, including interfaith couples, single parents, married couples in which one prospective parent has previously been divorced, or other parents to whom the agency has any religious objection, according to a list compiled by Human Right Watch.

Along with 108 local businesses and several major Tennessee sports, travel and culture organizations, a fairly significant number of leading corporations signed the list. They  include Amazon, American Airlines, Bridgestone Americas, Dell Technologies, Dow, Hilton, Marriott International, Inc., Mars, Inc., Nike, Inc., Nissan North America, Salesforce, Warby Parker and Warner Music Group.

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Bridgestone Americas

Bridgestone Americas

Nashville, Tennessee-based Bridgestone Americas, Inc. (BSAM) is the U.S. subsidiary of Bridgestone Corporation, the world’s largest tire and rubber company. BSAM and its subsidiaries develop, manufacture and market a wide range of Bridgestone, Firestone and associate brand tires to address the needs of a broad range of customers, including consumers, automotive and commercial vehicle original equipment manufacturers, and those in the agricultural, forestry and mining industries. The companies are engaged in retreading operations throughout the Western Hemisphere and produce air springs, roofing materials, and industrial fibers and textiles. The BSAM family of companies also operates the world’s largest chain of automotive tire and service centers. Guided by its global corporate social responsibility commitment, Our Way to Serve, the company is dedicated to improving the way people live, work, move and play in all of the communities it calls home.

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Understanding that Serving Society with Superior Quality is our heritage and our mission, and embracing our responsibility to future generations as a global leader in our industries, Bridgestone and its teammates around the world employ innovation and technology to improve the way people move, live, work and play.

The best companies not only perform for their stakeholders, but also contribute to a better world.

Through innovative technology, Bridgestone is committed to providing easier, safer, smoother and more seamless mobility for its customers. Building on the enthusiasm of its employees to connect with people worldwide, the company is also focused on building safer and healthier communities, and improving access to education. With regard to the environment, Bridgestone continues to work toward a sustainable society by operating in harmony with nature, valuing natural resources, and reducing carbon dioxide emissions.

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We are committed to utilizing our strengths and competencies to address health, safety and education issues in our communities.

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Through innovative technology, we are committed to easier, safer, smoother and seamless mobility for our society and customers.

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We are committed to continually working toward a sustainable society with integrity and in unity with our customers, partners, communities and the world around us.

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