Several hundred businesses that collectively employ 14.6 million people in the U.S. have signed onto a coalition formed by the Human Rights Campaign to support the passage of the Equality Act.
The Equality Act creates anti-discrimination protections for LGBTQ+ people across a host of areas including employment, housing, credit, education, public services, federal programs, and jury service. It would amend the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Equal Credit Opportunity Act, the Jury Selection and Services Act, as well as several other laws pertaining to employment with the federal government to include sexual orientation and gender identity as protected statuses.
Major companies that joined the coalition include Apple, Delta Airlines, Pfizer, Tesla, Amazon, PepsiCo, General Motors, CVS, Facebook, Marriott, Capital One, Starbucks and Home Depot.
“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,” said Alphonso David, president of the Human Rights Campaign in a statement.
“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. 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,” he said.
The call to pass the Equality Act comes as conservative lawmakers across the country are introducing legislation that targets transgender people, which has inspired the business community to come together to push for the passage of anti-discrimination protections for LGBTQ+ people.
According the Hart Research Associates, 70 percent of Americans support the passage of the Equality Act, but it faces staunch opposition from congressional Republicans. It would require 60 votes in the Senate to overcome the filibuster, which many pro-democracy advocates have denounced as a racist and outdated relic of the Jim Crow era that is being used to block progressive legislation in the Senate.