13:33, June 23 153 0

2018-06-23 13:33:05


Why is Facebook opening a data center in one of the most antigay states?

Facebook is building its new data center in the very anti-LGBT state of Alabama. What does this mean for LGBT rights? What does it mean for Facebook?

Facebook is dropping a $750 million data center in Huntsville, Alabama, bringing money and jobs to the state in a way only an internet behemoth can. It also shines a spotlight on the state.

As governor Kay Ivey said in her announcement, ”Every day, millions of people around the world use Facebook’s products, and this new Alabama data center will soon play a role in keeping the company’s popular platforms running flawlessly.”

But what’s a supposedly progressive, LGBT-friendly company like Facebook doing, giving millions of dollars to an anti-LGBT state like Alabama?

Alabama does not prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation in housing, employment, credit, or public accommodations. The state has no hate crimes law. No state law addresses anti-LGBT bullying in schools. The state doesn’t ban insurance exclusions for transgender health care, nor does it have transgender-inclusive health benefits for state workers.

In fact, Alabama has recently passed anti-LGBT legislation. Governor Ivey signed a law to allow faith-based organizations to refuse to place children with LGBT parents on religious grounds. The state Senate passed a bill doing away with marriage licenses, to spite LGBT couples.

Compare this to the question of where to place Amazon’s new headquarters. Several cities are being considered as possible locations. There has been a considerable push to ensure that LGBT inclusion is a deciding factor in where it goes, and disqualify cities in states without LGBT protections. That’s why Indianapolis has probably lost their chance after state Republicans keep attacking LGBT people.

Large companies with diverse workforces, like Facebook and Amazon, have an apparent interest in doing, and perhaps even an obligation to do business with states where their LGBT employees are protected. If they want to retain and attract talented employees, it’s just good business sense.

Winning significant economic investments from large companies has been an incentive for states to extend protections to LGBT people. They have been the carrot encouraging progress, while the loss of such opportunities has been the stick applied to states that instead pass discriminatory laws. (See: North Carolina.)

It’s not likely that Facebook’s decision to build a data center in Alabama will encourage the state to step into this century. After all, Alabama got Facebook to invest in the state without having made any progress towards equality. Why should Alabama change now?

Most likely, Facebook employees will have to work at that data center without protections against discrimination and harassment. Maybe Alabama and Facebook gain something from this decision, but LGBT workers still lose.

Random movies

  • And Then Came Summer (2000)  

    And Then Came Summer (2000)

    In this story of sexual discovery and the resulting fallout that might happen within a family, a reunion vacation becomes unforgettable when two teenage boys discover their feelings for each other, only to be found out by their friends and relatives. When the relationship is discovered, so is another startling piece of information, that one of the families had previously institutionalized their son for reparative therapy because of his homosexuality.