ATLANTA – A new Williams Institute report has found that anti-LGBT discrimination and inequities is costing Georgia’s economy. The report, released today, highlighted Georgia’s weak civil rights protections and the associated stigmas and stresses that vulnerable legal standing creates for LGBT people. The report estimates that reducing those stresses by even just a quarter among Georgia’s LGBT workforce would gain the state’s economy upwards of $147 million in revenue. Another red flag raised in the study: Georgia’s weak – and sometimes hostile – laws, making the state less attractive to young, talented workers. In fact, the report estimates the state loses more than $9,000 for each employee that changes jobs or leaves the state.
The Williams Institute study comes just weeks after the Georgia Unites Against Discrimination coalition released a groundbreaking report making the economic and legal case for comprehensive nondiscrimination protections in Georgia.
“The evidence is overwhelming that discrimination is bad for Georgia – it’s bad for our communities and our economy,” said Jeff Graham, executive director of Georgia Equality. “The evidence is also clear that, by strengthening our laws to protect all Georgians – regardless of their faith, sexual orientation, or gender identity – we’ll strengthen our business climate, burnish our brand, and deliver a better quality of life to all Georgians.”
In the executive summary of the Georgia Unites report, conservative attorney Joe Whitley wrote: “It’s time for Georgia lawmakers to address our state’s outdated protections, and expand them to include common-sense protections for all Georgians from discrimination in housing, employment, and public accommodations. Such a move would bring Georgia in-line with the vast majority of states across the nation.” Whitley served in the administrations of Presidents Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, and George W. Bush.