Saturday, May 21, 2011

ALCOA: 'We do not agree with the chamber on this issue and would ask that the governor veto the bill'

Americablog, which broke this story and continues to cover it like a blanket, reports that ALCOA, the Pittsburgh-based aluminum producer and member of the board of the Tennessee Chamber of Commerce, has now publicly repudiated HB 600/SB 632, a Tennessee state law which would strike down Nashville's recently-enacted gay rights protections and preclude the enactment of other similar laws by Tennessee municipalities.
     The Tennessee Chamber of Commerce lobbied for the law after secret meetings with right-wing religious activists in Tennessee. Other board members who have issued statements are AT&T, Nissan and FedEx (a senior vice president of which gave a large contribution to the antigay Prop 8 campaign in California and which disingenuously refers to itself as a mere "member" of the Tennessee Chamber of Commerce when in fact FedEx has a seat on the board.) None of those companies has repudiated the law. Their statements are sheer PR.
     Other board members of the Tennessee Chamber of Commerce (Comcast, DuPont, Pfizer, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Caterpillar, KPMG, Whirlpool, Embraer, and United HealthCare) didn't even bother to issue press releases about the matter. (Of course if you're Caterpillar, supplying multimillion-dollar equipment to oil companies strip-mining an England-sized chunk of the pristeen forests of Alberta, Canada to get at tar sands oil, why would the concerns of gay people matter to you? They're really not your primary customers, are they?)
     On the other hand, Pfizer's drugs (like Viagra) have many worthy competitors (like Cialis) manufactured by companies which aren't lobbying for laws which squelch local gay rights ordinances...

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