Marianna S. Smith does not name the company that she is a part of, but she made it quite clear where her company’s priorities lay. In a letter sent to the Florida Times-Union, Smith explains that:
I am a member of the board of directors of a rapidly growing, multi-million dollar international company. We employ chemists and engineers, marketers/sales staff plus a full manufacturing and distribution facility.
The company is located in a landlocked city and wishes to move to a city with a port, rail and truck service.
I have strongly advocated Jacksonville as our future business home. Unfortunately, the CEO came to evaluate Jacksonville when the letters and comments of hate were in our paper opposing the proposed changes to the Jacksonville anti-discrimination ordinance.
She explained that the CEO was shocked by the discrimination in Jacksonville and delayed the decision on moving to Jacksonville until after the vote was taken. The CEO decided it was not a good fit for the company.
She went on to explain that:
I have served as a director on other international boards, and I can promise you that those companies would also decline Jacksonville as a headquarters home in view of the way our council and some citizens responded to a call for equal rights.
This is not the result of unforeseen consequences. No, this result is highly foreseeable.
When religious beliefs and convictions are infused into the responsibility of creating public policy, the resulting sad consequences are totally predictable. Where was strong, wise and meaningful leadership when we needed it?
If I ever questioned the wisdom of separation of church and state, that doubt has been completely erased by this event. I am saddened to have my home city of Jacksonville defined in this manner.
Unfortunately, Smith’s company is now looking into Savannah, Charleston and Virginia. Those cities and state are worse than Jacksonville in many ways. Perhaps Smith’s company should look into Delaware, New Jersey, New York, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island or New Hampshire if they would like to get away from the bigotry and hatred common in the South.
Smith noted that the other companies that they are looking into are also not likely to choose Jacksonville to move to.