More than 400 businesses have expressed their support for the Equality Act, a federal bill that would solidify comprehensive non-discrimination protections for LGBTQ people across the country.
The Business Coalition for the Equality Act, a group led by the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) to demonstrate the robust corporate support behind the legislation, includes 416 major US companies, including Tesla, Home Depot, Macy’s, Starbucks, and Amazon. More than a half-dozen airlines, including Delta, Southwest, and United, are also on the list.
Altogether, the hundreds of businesses collectively employ more than 14.6 million people in the United States.
“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,” Human Rights Campaign president Alphonso David said in a written statement. “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.”
The Equality Act would build on the Supreme Court victory in the Bostock case last year by affirming discrimination protections for LGBTQ people across housing, healthcare, education, and more. Out gay Representative David Cicilline of Rhode Island is the bill’s lead sponsor in the lower house, where it passed in February by a 224-206 margin for the first time since 2019. The bill has been introduced in the Senate, which is the legislation’s key hurdle at a time when Democrats do not have enough votes to pass it — and the filibuster isn’t the only roadblock. Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia, a Democrat, is not on board with the bill.
It is not yet clear whether pressure from the corporate world will sway any hesitant lawmakers, but that at least appears to be the strategy. The legislation is also a no-brainer for businesses benefitting from nationwide inclusion, such as Marriott, which has hotels all over the country and around the world.
“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,” Marriott said in a written statement. “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.”
Anna Walker, the vice president of public affairs at Levi Strauss and Co., also touted the importance of supporting LGBTQ workers.
“Levi Strauss & Co. is proud to support the Equality Act,” Walker said in a written statement. “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.”
Walker added, “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.”
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