John Duffy, president of the PR firm Duffy & Shapley and chairman of the Greater providence Chamber of Commerce was quite clear, “Discrimination is expensive and bad for business,” he said on a conference call today. “The business community stands opposed to the exemptions in the Ciccone bill.”
He said marriage equality will increase the ability of Rhode Island businesses to attract and retain top talent in our state.
Sally Lapides, president and chief executive officer of Residential Properties Ltd, says that she has specific examples of people being offered jobs and passing on offers in Rhode Island because of the discriminatory nature of of laws.
“If someone is offered a job at Yale, Harvard or Brown [they might] choose to not come to Brown because Rhode Island does not equally respect people.” She added that it is embarrassing for Rhode Island to be the only state in New England without marriage equality. Even when people choose to work in Rhode Island, they often choose to live just over the border in neighboring Massachusetts, which decreases house sales in our struggling state.
Kirsten Dichiappari, president and founder of the Chatter Group, a collaborative consulting company says that business entrepreneurs in the LGBTQ community is a fast growing business sector, and those businesses are largely avoiding setting up shop in Rhode Island.
When asked if business leaders are concerned about any kind of backlash from those opposed to marriage equality because of their stance on the issue, Matt McTighe, who spearheaded Maine’s marriage equality effort noted that experiences in states that have passed such legislation shows that it has been great for business. Non-judgmental businesses, it turns out, have a competitive advantage.
It’s really that simple.