As a leader of a company headquartered in Scottsdale, Arizona, I’ve found myself compelled to take a stand against pending legislation that threatens to legalize discrimination and put an indelible blot on the image of the state. Though I normally fly wide of public politics and almost never publicly share internal communications, I believe this circumstance warrants both.
Yesterday I sent a mail to the 4,300 hundred employees of GoDaddy—many of whom live and work in the state of Arizona. It’s important to me that everyone in the company, regardless of where they live, understand that GoDaddy’s strength is in its diversity and that in opposing this legislation publicly we stand on the side of right in this matter.
I’m sharing this letter with all of you in the name of total transparency. It read as follows:
I don’t often wade into the political arena, however, there are pivotal moments in politics where we are faced with such potential injustice that everyone on the side of right must step in from the sidelines to speak out. Today is such a day.
As many of you know, there is a bill that’s been proposed in the Arizona senate that would allow anyone in the state to invoke their religious beliefs as a legal basis to refuse service to anyone they choose. Effectively, if passed, this bill would legally allow discrimination inside the state’s borders.
I’ve been a vehement supporter of religious rights just as with human rights, but this clearly isn’t about that. Since the civil rights reforms in the ’60’s we’ve agreed as a country that putting your shingle out for business is more than just commerce–it’s a contract with your community to serve them–equally and justly. The idea of legalized discrimination for any protected group is abhorrent and cannot go uncontested.
At GoDaddy we support our employees with the same benefits and rights for same sex partners as we do traditional married partners. Why do we do this? We know that diversity and inclusion are important for any business that appreciates diversity of thought (the fuel for innovation), and wants to attract and employ the best and brightest talent in the world.
As a company, we honor and believe in equal rights for all people, regardless of age, color, sex, disability, national origin, race, religion, or sexual orientation. We believe this proposed legislation would have far-reaching negative consequences on the state and the companies that do business here–and would wrongly send a message that Arizona does not respect diversity. One of our value statements is that that we join forces and win together. Inclusion and diversity are at the heart of this statement and are in alignment with our company values.
I sent a personal letter yesterday to Governor Brewer asking her directly to veto this legislation. For those of you who have reached out to me personally about this legislation, thank you for standing with me on the side of right. For anyone else who’d like to share their thoughts or concerns about this legislation with me, my door (and inbox) are always open to you.
Since sending the note I’ve received an overwhelming response of support, which is no surprise considering the warm hearts and brilliant minds of the men and women that make up GoDaddy.
2,500 years ago Plato wrote that “the penalty good men pay for indifference to public affairs is to be ruled by evil.” I don’t think the authors of Arizona S.B. 1066 are evil, but I have no doubt that evil will be done in the name of this legislation if it’s passed into law.
It’s my hope that by sharing today other business leaders (in Arizona and around the world) will join GoDaddy in vociferously opposing this legislation. Stand on the side of right with us and, together, let’s bring reason and justice back to the good state of Arizona.