Over 400 big businesses have jointly said that they want to see the Equality Act passed. The legislation would extend civil rights protections to LGBTQ people in the US.
The businesses concerned have joined the ‘Business Coalition for the Equality Act’, set up by Human Rights Campaign (HRC).
The Equality Act was passed by the House of Representatives in March. However, it faces a tougher battle to be passed by the Senate, which is split equally between Democrats and Republicans.
One Democratic Senator, West Virginia’s Joe Manchin III, has already indicated he might not support the Act, which alone could scupper its chances.
Household name companies to sign up to the coalition (which was first launched in 2016 but has grown steadily in the last five years), include Apple, Airbnb, Amazon, PepsiCo, General Motors, CVS, Facebook, Marriott, Capital One, Starbucks, Domino’s Pizza, Tesla, Pfizer, and Home Depot. They believe the Act will be good for business and is the right thing to do.
“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,’ said HRC President Alphonso David in a statement.
The 416 business in the coalition employ over 14.6 millions Americans and have a combined revenue of over $6.8 trillion.
“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,” continued David.
“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.”
At the moment, 29 states lack nondiscrimination protections for LGBTQ people.
The Equality Act has been debated in Congress before but has repeatedly failed when it came in front of the Senate.
Although many corporates have voiced backing for the Equality Act, the number of large companies pledging support through the HRC has doubled in the past two years.
“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, another of the Coalition members.
“It’s time that civil rights protections be extended to LGBT+ individuals nationwide on a clear, consistent, and comprehensive basis,” said Carla Grant Pickens, Global Chief Diversity & Inclusion Officer with IBM.
This is not the first time HRC has turned to big business for support. In 2015 it helped persuade 380 companies to sign an Amicus Brief to the Supreme Court, asking it to pass marriage equality.