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  WINDY CITY TIMES

Equality Act reintroduced, backed by 240 members of Congress, 90+ corporations
From a press release
2017-05-02

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WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, the Human Rights Campaign ( HRC ), the nation's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer ( LGBTQ ) civil rights organization, joined with bipartisan lawmakers and an unprecedented number of businesses to announce the re-introduction of the Equality Act — federal legislation that would finally guarantee explicit, permanent protections for LGBTQ people under our nation's existing civil rights laws. The bipartisan legislation would provide clear and equal protections under federal law for all Americans in vital areas of life, like employment, access to public spaces, housing, credit, education, jury service, and federally-funded programs. Today, in a majority of U.S. states ( 31 ), LGBTQ people remain at risk of being fired, evicted or denied services because of who they are.

"No person's fundamental rights should be determined by which side of a state line they live on," said HRC President Chad Griffin. "The Equality Act will once and for all end the unacceptable patchwork of non-discrimination laws across this country that leaves LGBTQ people at risk. Every American should have a fair chance to earn a living, provide for their families, and live their lives without fear of discrimination. And at its core, that's what the Equality Act is all about."

Discrimination is a real and persistent problem for far too many LGBTQ Americans. HRC polling has found that nearly two-thirds of self-identified LGBTQ Americans report experiencing discrimination — including people like Carter Brown, a transgender man from Texas who lost his job after he was outed by his colleagues.

Currently, 50 percent of LGBTQ Americans like Mr. Brown live in states where they are at risk of being fired, denied housing, or refused service because of who they are. There is no federal law explicitly protecting LGBTQ people from discrimination, and 31 states still lack fully-inclusive non-discrimination protections for LGBTQ people.

Today's announcement included unprecedented support from the business community: 92 major corporations have now joined HRC's Business Coalition for the Equality Act. While the overwhelming majority of America's leading businesses have already started addressing workplace fairness for LGBTQ employees, these major employers know how important the need is for a federal standard that treats all employees the same no matter which state they live in. The slate of companies endorsing the Equality Act have combined operations in all 50 states, headquarters spanning 23 states, and collectively generate $2.6 trillion in revenue. In total, these companies employ more than 5.8 million people across the United States.

The overwhelming majority of Americans support full federal equality for LGBTQ people. Polling released last year by the nonpartisan Public Religion Research Institute ( PRRI ) found that support for a bill like the Equality Act topped 70 percent nationally, including a majority of Democrats, Republicans and Independents. PRRI's groundbreaking survey included 42,000 interviews in 50 states and found majority support for the Equality Act in all 50 states.

The Equality Act is co-sponsored by 240 members of Congress. It was first introduced in 2015 by Representative David Cicilline ( D-RI ) and by Senators Jeff Merkley ( D-OR ), Tammy Baldwin ( D-WI ) and Cory Booker ( D-NJ ).

Major corporations in the HRC Business Coalition for the Equality Act include Abercrombie & Fitch Co.; Accenture; Adobe Systems Inc.; Advanced Micro Devices Inc.; Airbnb Inc.; Alcoa Inc.; Amazon.com Inc.; American Airlines; American Eagle Outfitters; American Express Global Business Travel; Apple Inc.; Arconic; Automatic Data Processing Inc.; Bank of America; Best Buy Co., Inc.; Biogen; Boehringer Ingelheim USA Corp.; Booz Allen Hamilton Inc.; Broadridge Financial Solutions Inc.; Brown-Forman Corp.; CA Technologies Inc.; Caesars Entertainment Corp.; Capital One Financial Corp.; Cardinal Health Inc.; Cargill Inc.; Chevron Corp.; Choice Hotels International Inc.; Cisco Systems Inc.; The Coca-Cola Co.; Corning Inc.; Cox Enterprises; CVS Health Corp.; Darden Restaurants Inc.; Delhaize America Inc.; Diageo North America; The Dow Chemical Co.; Dropbox Inc.; E. I. du Pont de Nemours and Co. ( DuPont ); eBay; EMC Corp.; Facebook Inc.; Gap Inc.; General Electric Co.; General Mills Inc.; Google Inc.; The Hershey Company; Hewlett Packard Enterprises; Hilton Worldwide Inc.; HP Inc.; HSN Inc.; Hyatt Hotels Corp.; IBM Corp.; Intel Corp.; InterContinental Hotels Group Americas; Johnson & Johnson; JP Morgan Chase & Co.; Kaiser Permanente; Kellogg Co.; Kenneth Cole Productions; Levi Strauss & Co.; Marriott International Inc.; MasterCard Inc.; McGraw Hill Financial; Microsoft Corp.; Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams; Monsanto Co.; Moody's Corp.; Nike Inc.; Northrop Grumman Corp.; Office Depot Inc.; Oracle Corp.; Orbitz Worldwide Inc.; PepsiCo Inc.; Procter & Gamble Co.; Pure Storage Inc.; Qualcomm Inc.; Replacements Ltd.; Salesforce; SAP America Inc.; Sodexo Inc.; Symantec Corp.; T-Mobile USA Inc.; Target Corp.; Tech Data Corp.; TIAA; Twitter Inc.; Uber Technologies Inc.; Unilever; Warby Parker; Wedding Wire Inc.; Williams-Sonoma Inc.; and Xerox Corp.

The Human Rights Campaign is America's largest civil rights organization working to achieve equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer people. HRC envisions a world where LGBTQ people are embraced as full members of society at home, at work and in every community.


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