Metro Weekly

New York State ad campaign tries to steal business away from states with anti-LGBT laws

Trio of ads airing in Texas, Mississippi, and North Carolina touts New York State's pro-LGBT reputation

Andrew Cuomo - Credit: Diana Robinson/flickr

Andrew Cuomo – Credit: Diana Robinson/flickr

New York State is capitalizing on the negative publicity that three states have garnered for their anti-LGBT stances. Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) has launched an “Open Doors Campaign” that will air TV advertisements in Texas, Mississippi, and North Carolina touting New York as a preferable place to relocate.

The ads feature multiple images of same-sex couples and reference Ellis Island, the Underground Railroad, the fight for women’s suffrage, and the Stonewall Rebellion. New York is depicted as a place that “welcomes those unwelcome in other places.”

The ads also show headlines of stories about Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s memo directing state agencies and employees not to take any “adverse action” against people who openly defy or publicly object to the right of same-sex couples to marry, as well as Mississippi’s HB 1523, or “religious freedom” law, and North Carolina’s HB 2, which restricts transgender people’s ability to access restrooms and facilities that correspond to their gender identity.

Following those developments, business leaders and major corporations in all three states came out in opposition to legislation that discriminates against the LGBT community. In recent years, corporate America has embraced the LGBT community as consumers of their products, and has realized that putting pro-LGBT policies in place helps them attract and retain talent, which in turn is better for their bottom line.

The ads also reference the controversy over some states refusing to accept Syrian refugees, with New York contrasting itself as a welcoming and tolerant place.

“Now, as some in America seem to be forgetting exactly what freedom means, New York State is once again standing up for those who others try to keep down, by welcoming, promoting, and applauding all who have so much to offer, giving us the privilege of being known by the companies we keep,” a narrator says in one of the ads. “So if you and your business want to be where the true leaders are, where we understand the value of diversity and work to make sure everyone can succeed, join us, grow here, start your business here, and welcome to New York State.”

Another ad includes testimony from three representatives of major corporations based in New York State: Ajay Banga, CEO and president of Mastercard, Martin Chavez, the chief information officer of Goldman Sachs, and Indira Nooyi, chairman and CEO of PepsiCo, attesting to the state’s embrace of diversity as good for business.

A third ad says: “New York loves diversity, loves equality, loves fighting to protect the rights for all. We make it our business, because it’s good for business. Today, when love is under attack by hate, we welcome those with big hearts and big visions for what the world can become.”

See the advertisements from New York’s “Open Doors Campaign” below (courtesy of Gov. Cuomo’s YouTube channel):

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John Riley is the local news reporter for Metro Weekly. He can be reached at