Jennifer Cast, one of the first Amazon employees, asked Jeff Bezos to donate $100,000 to support a voter referendum on same-sex marriage in the state of Washington in 2012.
Bezos responded: "This is right for so many reasons. We're in for $2.5 million. Jeff & MacKenzie.''
Thank you, Mr. Bezos, and thank you to Washington Post reporter Jonathan O'Connell for writing a report on the history of LGBTQ issues with Amazon and currently in connection with Amazon's search for a second headquarters. In today's print LA Times, it's titled "For Amazon, gay rights matter." (posted on the LAT website on April 27)
|Jeff Bezos - By U.S. Department of Defense photo by Senior Master Sgt. Adrian Cadiz - https://www.flickr.com/photos/secdef/26804540906/in/album-72157668014155445/, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=60644838|
The search for a new Amazon headquarters (HQ2) is explicitly seeking a "compatible cultural and community environment" for its expected 50,000 employees.
Among the twenty cities under consideration are Dallas/Ft. Worth, Austin, Washington D.C., and others in Maryland, Virginia, Georgia, Indiana, and North Carolina. The last three states along with Texas would be cheapest for Amazon because of their "low-tax environments."
But those four states may also have the least gay-friendly cultural environments.
- North Carolina--"bathroom bill"
- Georgia--proposals to restrict funding for same-sex adoption
- Indiana--support of former Gov. Mike Pence, anti-abortion etc.
- Texas--anti-abortion measures, etc.
The CEO of American Airlines, based in Ft. Worth, pointed out that there's some merit in going to a less-compatible cultural environment in order to change it.
And the pastor of a gay mega-church testified that Dallas has been friendly to him and his congregation.
But my advice, Mr. Bezos, is to go for Austin, not Dallas/Ft. Worth, if you like the low taxes in Texas. Austin is a culturally better city with a university, like Seattle.
My cousin Racene McLaughlin has a daughter who was the top manager of the Walmart in Durango, Colorado.
Three years ago this daughter moved her family to Dallas in order to manage a larger store within WalMart--but she moved back to Colorado less than a year later because of the "cultural environment."
Racism, specifically. Though she and her husband are white folks from small-town Colorado, they were appalled by the culture of Texas.
Just saying, Mr. Bezos, look very carefully before you bet on Dallas.