"Atlanta (CNN)-Under increasing pressure from major corporations that do business in Georgia, Gov. Nathan Deal announced Monday he will veto a bill that critics say would have curtailed the rights of Georgia's LGBT community.House Bill 757 would have given faith-based organizations in Georgia the option to deny services and jobs to gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people. Supporters said the measure was meant to protect religious freedom, while opponents have described it as "anti-LGBT" and "appalling.
Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff said the company "can't have a program in Georgia" if the bill were to become law. Disney said it would stop filming in the state, and Unilever said it would "reconsider investment" if the legislation were signed. Coca-Cola spoke out against the bill, as did Home Depot and several other Fortune 500 companies based in Atlanta.
The NFL said the bill could cost Atlanta the opportunity to host the Super Bowl. Time-Warner, the parent company of CNN, also opposed the legislation."
So what's the big deal? What's key here is that major corporations used the threat of what is paramount to state economic sanctions to affect public policy. While business interests and their paid lobbyists have a long history of controlling public policy, often for just their own special interests, this is one of those moments where such influence was used for a more positive, depending on your politics, purpose. Is this just because that such an action was perhaps the right thing to do? Doubt it. Or, was this done because of the potential consumer backlash if they didn't do it? Something to consider.
Money talks is an old cliche but it is true. Look at the change in copmanies now willing to label, and support the mandatory labeling, of GMO ingredients in foods. How about Campbell's Soup announcement that they were eliminating BPA in their cans and General Mills eliminating artificial ingredients from their cereal products. Is this happening because corporations have suddenly developed a conscious--a sense of social responsibility? No, it's because, you, the consumer, have flexed your spending muscles and demanded change with your purchases.
Important is the fact that people can greatly affect public policy, not just by voting, demonstrating, petitioning, or lobbying, but by how they spend their money. This is, perhaps, the most effective way to make your voice heard.