Apple, NFL, American Airlines Urge Ariz. Gov. Jan Brewer to Veto 'Wrong Message' Anti-Gay Bill

Businesses use economic reasons to object to a bill called anti-gay by some.

ByABC News
February 25, 2014, 4:27 PM

Feb. 26, 2014— -- Companies are publicly appealing to Arizona Gov. Janice "Jan" Brewer to veto a bill that would permit business to refuse gay customers.

Here are some of the companies that have confirmed communication, such as letters and phone calls, to the governor's office. Read more about the bill.

1. American Airlines

"There is genuine concern throughout the business community that this bill, if signed into law, would jeopardize all that has been accomplished so far," Doug Parker, CEO of American Airlines, wrote in a letter to Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer that was dated Feb. 24.

American Airlines, based in Fort Worth, Texas, merged with US Airways, which is based in Phoenix.

"Few states suffered as greatly during the recession as Arizona," Parker writes in the letter. "Thanks to a collaborative effort between the business and civic communities, we have been able to generate an economic comeback that is beginning to show great signs of success. There is genuine concern throughout the business community that this bill, if signed into law, would jeopardize all that has been accomplished so far. Wholly apart from the stated intent of this legislation, the reality is that it has the very real potential of slowing down the momentum we have achieved by reducing the desire of businesses to locate in Arizona and depressing the travel and tourism component of the economy if both convention traffic and individual tourists decide to go elsewhere. Our economy thrives best when the doors of commerce are open to all. This bill sends the wrong message."

2. Apple Inc.

A spokesperson for Apple Inc. confirmed to ABC News that there was a call to Gov. Jan Brewer from one of the company's top executives urging the governor to veto the bill allowing businesses to deny service to gay customers.

Apple is opening a plant in Mesa, Ariz., that is expected to create about 2,000 jobs.

3. NFL's Arizona Cardinals

"What so many love about football is its ability to bring people together," a statement from the National Football League's Arizona Cardinals read. "We do not support anything that has the potential to divide, exclude and discriminate. As a prominent and highly-visible member of this community, we strive to bring positive attention to the state. We are concerned with anything that creates a negative perception of Arizona and those of us who are fortunate to call it home."

The Arizona Super Bowl host committee, which does not represent the NFL but is planning the Super Bowl next year in Glendale's University of Phoenix stadium, also is hoping Gov. Brewer vetoes the legislation.

"We share the NFL's core values which embrace tolerance, diversity, inclusiveness and prohibit discrimination. In addition, a key part of the mission for the Arizona Super Bowl Host Committee is to promote the economic vitality of Arizona," the host committee statement read. "On that matter we have heard loud and clear from our various stakeholders that adoption of this legislation would not only run contrary to that goal but deal a significant blow to the state's economic growth potential. We do not support this legislation. Instead, we look forward to continuing to promote the NFL's values while focusing on the economic momentum apparent in Arizona and capturing the positive worldwide attention associated with hosting Super Bowl XLIX."

4. Marriott

In a letter to Gov. Jan Brewer, Steve Hart, Marriott's Arizona area vice president, and Thomas Maloney, the hotel chain's director of government affairs, use an economic argument against the bill, citing that the company has not returned to pre-2008 occupancy and revenue levels.

"We have serious concerns that passage of SB 1062 would undermine - or worse, counteract that progress. This legislation has the potential to subject our state to travel boycotts by both individual leisure travelers and groups looking to hold meetings here."

The five-paragraph letter was posted on Twitter by BuzzFeed's legal editor Chris Geidner. A spokeswoman for Marriott confirmed to ABC News that the company urged the governor to veto the legislation.

"Regardless of whether or not SB 1062 goes into effect, our internal policies have and will continue to prohibit discrimination on the basis of race, gender, or sexual orientation. Still at a fundamental level we need state law to also reflect these values of inclusion, or out industry will be at a permanent competitive disadvantage vis-a-vis other jurisdictions."

5. Verizon Communications Inc.

Verizon Communication's CEO Lowell McAdam sent a letter to the governor in favor of a veto.

"On behalf of Verizon's customers and employees in the State of Arizona, I strongly urge you to veto SB 1062. This legislation will needlessly open the door to ugly discrimination," McAdam wrote. "Verizon is proud of its strong anti-discrimination policies in effect across our nationwide footprint, in our store channels, and throughout our business operations."

The company, based in New York City, has over 2,500 employees in Arizona, 39 retail locations and more than 2.6 million customers in the state, He writes. He adds Verizon has invested nearly $1.4 billion in our Arizona network since 2000, "including nearly $170 million in 2013 alone."

6. Intel Corp.

Rachel Sutherland, a spokeswoman for Intel in Arizona, said the Santa Clara, Calif.-based company was a part of several local business groups that sent a letter to Gov. Brewer asking her to veto the bill.

"After careful study and analysis of Senate Bill 1062, our organizations, which represent the broad spectrum of Arizona's business community, respectfully request that you veto this bill," the letter stated.

The letter was signed by the leaders of the Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce, Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Greater Phoenix Leadership and Southern Arizona Leadership Council.

"We are concerned over the potential for businesses to be exposed to an increased risk of litigation," the four-paragraph letter stated. "Businesses carry out laws every day that could, under the construct of this legislation, be construed as a 'state action,' which could result in increased disputes over the application of current and future law. We are troubled by any legislation that could be interpreted to permit discrimination against a particular group of people in the marketplace."

7. Southwest Airlines

Ron Ricks, Southwest Airlines' executive vice president and chief legal and regulatory officer, wrote to Gov. Brewer to request a veto, citing the company's "core tenets of diversity and inclusion."

"We proudly serve Arizona, providing countless national arrivals and departures on a daily basis," Ricks wrote. "But, as a company, we are concerned with the negative impact the passage of SB1062 will have on Arizona's business and tourism environment."

Brad Hawkins, a company spokesman for Southwest Airlines, provided a statement to that read: "We believe in an inclusive environment that embraces and values each Customer and Employee. We could never support legislation that runs counter to our values of respect for each person and our strong non-discrimination policy."

8. AT&T Inc., PetSmart, eBay, GoDaddy

Dozens of companies like Scottsdale, Ariz.-based GoDaddy signed a letter to Gov. Brewer from the Arizona Technology Council to request a veto.

Part of the seven-paragraph letter calls the bill "frivolous, unnecessary and fiscally perilous."

"Arizona business owners already have the right to refuse business to anyone. There is no need for this legislation, and we believe it is attempting to fix a problem that doesn't exist," the letter states.

"When the Legislature passes bills like this, it creates a reputation that Arizona is judgmental and unwelcoming. This will haunt our business community for decades to come," the businesses and organizations write.

9. Starwood Hotels and Resorts

Keith Grossman, deputy general counsel at Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide Inc., penned a letter to Gov. Brewer, calling the bill passed by legislators last week "misguided."

Grossman said the bill is "antithetical to the inclusiveness we strive for at Starwood and we will maintain and enforce our policies and values regardless of whether SB 1062 becomes the law of the state."

"Nonetheless, SB 1062 could have a destructive impact on state tourism and in turn our hotels and our industry," he wrote.


Marc Benioff, CEO of in San Francisco, tweeted on Wednesday that he won't return to Arizona on business if the governor approves the bill, lamenting the possibility he won't return to two of his favorite hotels in the state: the Arizona Biltmore in Phoenix (a Waldorf Astoria property) and The Phoenician in Scottsdale (a luxury Starwood resort).