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Tech leaders call for LGBT protections

Tech leaders issued a joint statement supporting the expansion of civil rights laws to include protections based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

If there’s any silver lining to be found in the wave of religious freedom measures sweeping state legislatures across the country, it’s that the controversy has focused national attention on the nearly 30 states that have yet to pass non-discrimination protections for their LGBT citizens.

RELATED: Arkansas Gov. Hutchinson asks for changes to religious freedom bill

On Wednesday, 39 leaders in the tech industry issued a joint statement supporting the expansion of civil rights laws to include protections based on sexual orientation and gender identity. The signatories include the heads of Affirm, Yelp and Salesforce -- some of the most ardent opponents of the religious freedom measures that recently passed Republican-controlled legislatures in Indiana and Arkansas, despite warnings that these measures would sanction anti-LGBT discrimination. Top executives at Ebay, Twitter, AirBnB and and other companies also signed on to the statement.

“We believe it is critically important to speak out about proposed bills and existing laws that would put the rights of minorities at risk,” the statement said. “The transparent and open economy of the future depends on it, and the values of this great nation are at stake.”

The letter should hold particular sway over Arkansas’ Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson, who has made it a priority to attract tech talent to his state. Earlier Wednesday, Hutchinson said he would not sign his state's Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) unless lawmakers changed it to directly mirror a federal version of the law. Arkansas -- like most states in the country -- currently does not bar discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.

“Religious freedom, inclusion, and diversity can co-exist and everyone including LGBT people and people of faith should be protected under their states’ civil rights laws,” the tech executives' ' statement said. “No person should have to fear losing their job or be denied service of housing because of who they are or whom they love.”

Below is the full list of signatories:

Max Levchin, CEO, Affirm

Mark Pincus, Chairman, Zynga

Jeremy Stoppelman, CEO, Yelp

Marc Benioff, CEO, SalesForce

Jack Dorsey, CEO, Square

Dick Costolo, CEO, Twitter

Joe Green, CEO, Lyft

Brian Chesky, CEO, AirBnB

Joe Gebbia, CPO, AirBnB

Nathan Blecharczyk, CTO, AirBnB

Ron Conway, CEO, Axon JuriMed Group LLC

John Donahoe, CEO, Ebay

Paul Graham, CoFounder, YCombinator

Rich Barton, Chairman, Zillow Group

Chad Hurley, CEO, Mixbit

Adora Cheung, CEO, Homejoy

Phil Libin, CEO, Evernote

Trevor Traina, CEO, IfOnly

Nirav Tolia, CEO, NextDoor

Dion Lim, CEO, NextLesson

Bret Taylor, CEO, Quip

Joe Lonsdale, CEO, Formation 8

Thomas Layton, Chairman, Elance-odesk

Fabio Rosati, CEO, Elance-odesk

Dave Morin, CEO, Path

Mark Goldstein, Chairman, BackOps

Kevin Rose, CEO, North Technologies

Yves Behar, CCO, Jawbone

Padmasree Warrior, CTSO, Cisco Systems

Tony Conrad, CEO,

Sunil Paul, CEO, Sidecar

Michael Moritz, Chairman, Sequoia Capital

Dan Schulman, President, PayPal

Devin Wenig, President, eBay Marketplaces

Robert Hohman, CEO, Glassdoor

Laurene Powell Jobs, Founder and Chair, Emerson Collective

Mohan Warrior, CEO, Alphalight

David Spector, CIO, Penny Mac

Shervin Pishevar, CoFounder, Sherpa Ventures