Business leads the way in the fight for LGBT rights No group seemed to play a bigger role in convincing Indiana lawmakers to alter their religious freedom law to ensure it wasn’t used to discriminate against gays and lesbians than the business leaders who went public with their feelings. Between Apple CEO Tim Cook’s op-ed decrying the law in the Washington Post and the Indianapolis-based Angie’s List putting a $40 million expansion on hold, the swift and stern reaction of the business community grabbed the attention of lawmakers. In spite of victories in Indiana and Arkansas, however, CEOs are pushing ahead with efforts to block other state religious freedom bills they see as discriminatory. But even more significant is the fact that a powerful group of business leaders, especially from the tech community, are urging states to add special protections for gays and lesbians. “Religious freedom, inclusion, and diversity can co-exist and everyone including LGBT people and people of faith should be protected under their states’ civil rights laws,” a group of more than 100 technology leaders said in a joint statement. “To ensure no one faces discrimination and ensure everyone preserves their right to live out their faith, we call on all legislatures to add sexual orientation and gender identity as protected classes to their civil rights laws and to explicitly forbid discrimination or denial of services to anyone. Anything less will only serve to place barriers between people, create hurdles to creativity and inclusion, and smother the kind of open and transparent society that is necessary to create the jobs of the future.” FULL REPORT