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More big employers against a bathroom bill

I don’t know what it will take to get this message to sink in, but it won’t be for lack of trying.

The CEOs of 14 top companies, including Facebook, Apple, Microsoft and Amazon, have sent a letter to Gov. Greg Abbott urging him not to pass discriminatory legislation.

“As large employers in the state, we are gravely concerned that any such legislation would deeply tarnish Texas’ reputation as open and friendly to businesses and families,” the CEOs wrote Abbott in a letter dated May 27. “Our ability to attract, recruit and retain top talent, encourage new business relocations, expansions and investment, and maintain our economic competitiveness would all be negatively affected.

In addition to Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and Apple CEO Tim Cook, the letter was signed by Amazon CEO Jeff Wilke, IBM Chairman Ginni Rometty, Microsoft Corp. President Brad Smith and Google CEO Sundar Pichai. The leaders of Dell Technologies, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Cisco, Silicon Labs, Celanese Corp., GSD&M, Salesforce and Gearbox Software also signed the letter.

“We strongly urge you and the Texas Legislature not to further pursue legislation of this kind,” they added.

The letter, which has not been made public but was released to The Dallas Morning News, was sent just days before state lawmakers were scheduled to gavel out the 2017 regular legislative session. The year’s most controversial and divisive issue has been a Senate proposal to block transgender Texans from using restrooms that match their gender identities.

That story ran on Sunday, so the letter is public now – you can find an image of it on Michael Dell’s Facebook page. There was a time when a Republican Governor of Texas would have taken this kind of feedback very seriously, but the Republican Party of Texas is no longer interested in what businesses have to say. What happens from here is entirely up to Abbott, but what happens after he makes his choice is up to the rest of us, including these businesses. If we want leaders in our state who value inclusion over discrimination and the reputation of the state over crass political interests, we’ll need to support and vote for such leaders. ThinkProgress has more.

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