"We advise people to look at their corporate values and to take a strong look at whether their own personnel policies need to be revised," says Bob Schenkein, president of Schenkein/Sherman Public Relations. Training is urged for employees who handle telephone calls from the public, with briefings and scripts provided for that purpose.
* A computer software company has provided $1 million in seed money to establish a foundation that will underwrite projects to educate people about cultural diversity.
Amendment 2 is by no means being felt uniformly across industries or across the state. Denver, which draws a large convention business, has been harder hit than Grand Junction, which has little. Durable goods manufacturers, whose business relationships tend to be of long standing, are taking less flak than consumer companies, where loyalties are more fleeting.
Perhaps the most visible activism has come in high technology, a field where progressive employment practices are common.
At Quark Inc., a producer of computer software, Chairman Tim Gill responded to the passage of Amendment 2 by asking the company's vendors and financial institutions to institute policies barring discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation--or risk losing Quark's business.
"It wasn't really ethical for me to say, 'I won't discriminate against my gay employees,' and then go and do business with someone who would fire an employee for being gay," Gill explained.
Only one of the company's 50-plus vendors resisted. The sole objector, a supporter of Amendment 2, was terminated as a supplier. Quark is also funding the yet-unnamed foundation to promote understanding of life in a diverse society.
Ziff-Davis Publishing Co.--a subsidiary of Ziff Communications and one of the world's largest producers of computer magazines--has expressed growing reluctance to move an estimated 1,200 employees from the East Coast to a Denver suburb because of the passage of Amendment 2.
In a memo to employees, Chairman William Ziff Jr. termed the measure "damaging and wrong." He added: "Our consideration of Colorado will be affected by the course this issue takes."
On the other hand, though, many retailers and others in consumer-oriented businesses feel compelled to tread more softly.
"You have to be careful not to alienate one constituency over another," explained John Fellows, group manager for Coors Brewing Co. in Golden.
The brewer has experienced a dribble of one or two telephone calls a day regarding Amendment 2--and they illustrate the dilemma. Some callers say they're going to boycott the company's beers because they are brewed in Colorado; others say they'll buy it for the same reason. The company's position is that it has no position on the issue.
The task of assuaging one constituency without offending another has certainly been on Marion Julier's mind as she grapples with Amendment 2.
Julier is general manager of the Scanticon Hotel Resort and Conference Center in Denver. Within weeks of the election, the Scanticon saw 5,000 room-nights--the equivalent of 10% occupancy for nearly three weeks at the 300-room hotel--canceled by groups protesting the 53%-47% vote in favor of the ballot measure.
In response, all sales personnel were trained to field caller questions and concerns by simply explaining what the amendment says, why it is confusing and what it does or does not do, Julier said.
Next, a letter was sent to former visitors within Colorado urging them to return to the Scanticon rather than take their conference business elsewhere. "Why go out of state when people out there are boycotting us?" Julier asked.
When it came to out-of-state visitors, however, the hotel opted to lay low. "You have to be careful," Julier explained. "You don't want to remind someone (about the amendment). We prefer not to make it an issue if it isn't."
Despite the black eye that business leaders believe Amendment 2 has given Colorado--and the resultant corporate agonizing--a number of community leaders contend that the measure is a silver-laced storm cloud.
At the Colorado Business Council, a sort of gay chamber of commerce, founder Marie Tapp said that businesses that do not discriminate on the basis of sexual preference and others owned by gays or lesbians are benefiting.
"People will flock to some businesses because they are non-discriminatory or because of heightened desire by people to do business within their own community," said Tapp, president of her own accounting firm.
"In the last week," she said, "we have received calls from several people who have their taxes done professionally and now want to have them done by someone in the (gay) community."
"Good things always come out of bad things," added Barbara Grogan, president of Western Industrial Contractors, a major construction firm and chairman of the Greater Denver Chamber of Commerce.
"This is bringing people together in the community that have never sat down at the same table together," said Grogan.