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  WINDY CITY TIMES

More than 400 major U.S. corporations register unprecedented support for Equality Act
--From a press release
2021-04-27

This article shared 692 times since Tue Apr 27, 2021
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WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, the Business Coalition for the Equality Act ( www.hrc.org/resources/business-coalition-for-equality ) announced it has grown to include more than 400 major U.S. corporations (including dozens of Fortune 500 companies) calling for the urgent passage of the Equality Act — federal legislation that would modernize our nation's civil rights laws by including explicit protections for LGBTQ people, as well as improve protections for women, people of color, and people of all faiths. The announcement signals unprecedented support for the Equality Act among America's business leaders, who join a majority of Americans, hundreds of members of Congress, hundreds of advocacy organizations, and more than 60 business associations — including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the National Association of Manufacturers — in endorsing the federal legislation.

The 416 member companies of HRC's Business Coalition for the Equality Act represent a major swath of America's economic engine, with member companies overseeing business operations in all 50 states, company headquarters spanning 33 states and a combined $6.8 trillion in annual revenue. The 416 members of the coalition collectively employ more than 14.6 million people in the United States. The Business Coalition for the Equality Act is believed to be the largest business coalition to ever come together to speak out in support of legal LGBTQ equality ( www.hrc.org/press-releases/hundreds-of-nations-top-companies-urge-supreme-court-to-strike-down-same-se ) . The largest former effort was the business amicus brief for marriage equality, which included 379 businesses.

"We are seeing growing support from business leaders because they understand that the Equality Act is good for their employees, good for their businesses and good for our country. Employers care about their employees' ability to rent an apartment, send their kids to school, visit the dentist, and pick up the groceries free from discrimination. They realize that when LGBTQ employees and their family members are protected in their daily lives, it makes them more secure and confident in their jobs, and also more productive," said HRC President Alphonso David. "Thank you to every company that is speaking up and advocating for the passage of the Equality Act. It's time for the Senate to listen to the business community and the public and pass this long overdue legislation."

The Equality Act ensures everyone in America, including LGBTQ people, are protected from harassment and discrimination in all areas of life. Currently, even if an LGBTQ person works for a company that provides clear non-discrimination protections and inclusive cultures, that employee and their family members can still experience discrimination in other areas of life and have no legal recourse. In the majority of states — 29 states in total — that lack explicit nondiscrimination protections, these employees can be denied healthcare, loans, housing, and basic goods and services because they are LGBTQ.

The business community's support reflects the broad and overwhelming support for the Equality Act in communities nationwide. New polling ( hrc-prod-requests.s3-us-west-2.amazonaws.com/ME-14049-HRC-Equality-Act-3-16-2021.pdf ) from Hart Research Associates found that 70 percent of Americans (including 50 percent of Republicans) support the Equality Act. Hundreds of members of Congress and more than 600 organizations, including the nation's top leaders in civil rights, education, health care, and faith organizations have also endorsed the legislation.

Corporate endorsements for the Equality Act have more than doubled ( assets2.hrc.org/files/assets/resources/Business_Coalition_for_Equality.pdf ) since the Equality Act passed the U.S. House in 2019.

Business Support for the Equality Act

American Airlines: "American's mission of taking care of people on life's journey includes making the case for greater equity and inclusion, two of our company's core values that are also critical to our success," said Molly Wilkinson, Vice President of Regulatory Affairs and PRIDE EBRG Executive Sponsor. "That's why we're proud to join with the Human Rights Campaign and this broad coalition of businesses in support of the Equality Act, a measure that would protect Americans from the kind of discrimination, harassment and unequal treatment that runs counter to our purpose. American has proudly stood with the LGBTQ community for decades and will continue to advocate for full inclusion, equity and protection under the law, because all of our team members and customers deserve to feel welcome and safe."

Levi Strauss & Co.: "Levi Strauss & Co. is proud to support the Equality Act," said Anna Walker, Vice President, Public Affairs. "We have a long history of supporting equal rights for the LGBT community, from being the first Fortune 500 company to extend health benefits to unmarried domestic partners more than 20 years ago, to being the only California business in 2007 to file an amicus brief with the California Supreme Court in support of same-sex marriage. The time has come in this country for full equality for the LGBTQ+ community. Ensuring fairness in our workplaces and communities is both good for business and simply the right thing to do."

Dow: "Dow has been a proud supporter of the Equality Act since it was first introduced; and we continue advocating for the full inclusion of the LGBTQ+ community in the eyes of the law," said Louis Vega, President, Dow North America and VP Government Affairs & Advocacy, North America. "Ensuring equality and opportunity for all is not only the right thing to do as a matter of human decency, it is good for society and business."

IBM: "A workforce that reflects the diversity of today's society drives new ideas and innovation," said Carla Grant Pickens, Global Chief Diversity & Inclusion Officer. "At IBM, we seek to hire the most talented individuals regardless of their gender identity, sexual orientation, religion, or other personal characteristics. We also believe that equal protections should extend beyond an employer's four walls, which is why IBM stands with HRC in endorsing the Equality Act. It's time that civil rights protections be extended to LGBT+ individuals nationwide on a clear, consistent, and comprehensive basis."

Marriott International Inc.: "At Marriott, we believe that every individual, including those in the LGBTQ community, should feel welcome, safe and respected when they enter one of our properties. As a global hospitality leader, our principles of non-discrimination extend to all travelers, and include sexual orientation and gender identity. That is why we are proud to join with the Human Rights Campaign and support passage of the Equality Act, to help ensure equality under the law as well as under our own roof."


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