Salesforce, Microsoft, And IBM Criticize Mississippi Religious Liberty Law

April 5, 2016, 11:32 PM UTC
Dreamforce 2015
SAN FRANCISCO, CA - SEPTEMBER 16: Marc Benioff speaks at the Salesforce keynote during Dreamforce 2015 at Moscone Center on September 16, 2015 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Tim Mosenfelder/Getty Images)
Tim Mosenfelder — Getty Images

A Mississippi religious liberty bill that was signed into law on Tuesday has big technology companies fuming over its potential impact on gays, lesbians, and same-sex couples.

Salesforce (CRM), Microsoft (MSFT), and IBM (IBM) all tweeted criticism of the Protecting Freedom of Conscience from Government Discrimination Act.

The companies join gay-rights and human rights groups as well as the American Civil Liberties Union in attacking the law over its broad language, which could be used by business owners to use religious objections to deny same-sex couples wedding. Similar religious liberty bills have been proposed throughout the U.S. in states like Georgia and Virginia, although those two bills were vetoed last week.

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In its tweet, IBM said that it believes the new law will lead to discrimination against “people based on marriage status, sexual orientation, and gender identity or expression.” In late March, IBM publicly criticized a North Carolina law that critics said would discriminate against transgender people.


Microsoft’s chief legal officer Brad Smith said he was disappointed in the new Mississippi law.


Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff also weighed in against the Mississippi law. He has been a vocal proponent against religious liberty laws and has threatened to cut back on Salesforce’s business in states in which they law has passed the legislature.


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Earlier in the day, Paypal said it had canceled plans to open a facility in Charlotte, N.C. for 400 employees after officials in that state passed a law that withdrew protections for transgender people to use public restrooms that match their gender identities.

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