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Leading travel companies call for veto of anti-gay bill in Arizona

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On Monday, Marriott, one of the largest hotel operators in the world, called on Arizona Governor Jan Brewer to veto a bill permitting businesses in Arizona to refuse service to gay customers on religious grounds. A copy of the letter that Marriott sent to Brewer was made public by BuzzFeed reporter Chris Geidner.

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Since the release of Marriott's letter, American Airlines, Delta and Southwest Airlines have also expressed concerns about the bill and called for its to be stopped.

Marriott's director of government affairs Thomas Maloney and Arizona area vice president Steve Hart co-signed their letter to Brewer, which included the following text:

At Marriott, we have worked hard to build an environment where every guest and employee feels welcome, safe and respected when they enter one of our hotels. Regardless of whether or not SB 1062 goes into effect, our internal policies have and will continue to prohibit discrimination on the basis of race, gender or sexual orientation. Still, at a fundamental level we need a state law to also reflect these values of inclusion, or our industry will be at a permanent competitive disadvantage vis-a-vis other jurisdictions.

American Airlines' chief executive officer Doug Parker expressed similar concerns yesterday in his letter to the governor, writing:

There is genuine concern throughout the business community that this bill, if signed into law, would jeopardize all that has been accomplished so far.

Marriott, American Airlines, Delta and Southwest Airlines have all been recognized for their support of their LGBT employees and customers. Each is a member of the International Gay and Lesbian Travel Association and have consecutively received high rankings on the Human Rights Foundation's Corporate Equality Index.

Brewer has not made any indications yet about how she plans to act. However, on Monday, Arizona's U.S. Senators John McCain and Jeff Flake, who are both republicans, called on her to veto the bill.

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