LGBT Equality Act gets major corporate support
As the Democrat-controlled House settles in, LGBT advocates are readying to push the LGBT Equality Act in Congress and this time, they got 164 leading businesses to join in.
The LGBT advocacy group, Human Rights Watch (HRW), announced that this corporate support would be part of their Business Coalition for the Equality Act.
LGBT Equality Act to protect LGBT people
These businesses comprise a combine operation in all 50 states, headquarters in 27 states, have more than US$3.8 trillion in revenue, and have more than 8.7 miilion employees across the US.
In a statement, HRC said that “these companies know how important it is to have a federal legal standard that guarantees all employees the same rights and protections– no matter where they live.”
HRC President Chad Griffin said: “The more than 160 leading American companies that have joined HRC’s Business Coalition for the Equality Act are sending a loud and clear message that the time has come for full federal equality.”
“These leading employers know that protecting their employees and customers from discrimination isn’t just the right thing to do– it’s also good for business,” Griffin added.
HRC believes that the bipartisan LGBT Equality Act would offer “clear, comprehensive non-discrimination protections” for the LGBTQ people that would be part of the country’s civil rights laws.
Presently, half of the LGBT Americans living in 30 states don’t have statewide legal non-discrimination protections. These put them at risk of being fired, denied housing or refused service.
Businesses supportive of the LGBT Equality Act
Among those companies supportive of the act were Hershey, Kellog, Corning, and General Mills, who spoke on the pending legislation.
“To help us achieve our goal of recruiting the nation’s top employees, we know that we must foster a business culture that is welcoming to all, regardless of sexual orientation, or gender, or race, or other status,” said Kevin Walling, Hershey’s Chief Human Resources Officer.
Mark King, Global Head of the Diversity & Inclusion of Kellogg Company declared: “Supporting the Equality Act demonstrates our continued commitment to creating an environment in which all employees are included, treated with dignity and respect, and are empowered to achieve their full potential.”
Christy Pambianchi, Executive Vice President of Corning Incorporated said: “LGBTQ people are our innovators, our friends, our family members, and our neighbors, and they deserve to be able to live their lives free from discrimination or harassment.”
“General Mills is proud to support the Equality Act to ensure that the promise of our democracy is upheld for LGBT Americans across the country, said Jacqueline Williams-Roll, Chief Human Resources Officer of General Mills.
Popular support for the LGBT Equality Act
There’s also popular support for the legislation as a majority of Americans have been polled as being supportive of federal non-discrimination protections and LGBT equality.
For example, a recent survey by PRRI found that seven in ten Americans or 71 percent support laws like the LGBT Equality Act.
On the other hand, HRC did post-election polling last year and found that 60 percent of voters opposed the proposal of the Trump administration to define gender by sex assigned at birth.
The proposed Equality Act would extend existing civil rights protection to LGBT people by prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity across key areas of life.
These areas include: employment, housing, credit, education, public spaces and services, federally-funded programs, and jury service.