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90.5 WESA's collection of stories on race, diversity, LGBT, gender and age-related stories.

LGBT Advocates Criticize Amazon's Shortlist of Potential HQ2 Sites

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Ted S. Warren
/
AP
LGBT advocates say they hope Amazon thinks about how many states on its HQ2 shortlist don't have protections against discrimation based on gender identity or sexual orientation.

Some LGBT advocates are discouraging Amazon from building its second headquarters in states that don’t have full discrimination protection laws– including Pennsylvania.

The “No Gay No Way!” campaign organized after Amazon announced its shortlist for potential HQ2 sites, which includes Pittsburgh and Philadelphia.

The City of Pittsburgh has been lauded by some advocates for its LGBT-friendly laws, including a ban on conversion therapy, and expanded medical coverage for city employees who are transgender.

But “No Way” campaign spokesperson Chris Fleming said Pennsylvania is among nine states on Amazon’s shortlist that don’t have comprehensive protections from discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.

“[Amazon has] a chance right now to say to their fellow business community members and to state lawmakers that ‘we’re not going to come to your state if you don’t protect LGBT citizens equally under the law,’” said Fleming.

Fleming said Amazon as a corporation, and its CEO Jeff Bezos, have advocated for LGBT issues for years. Amazon’s second headquarters is expected to employ fifty-thousand people.