Today, HRC held a public policy roundtable for corporate leaders engaged in supporting basic civil rights for LGBTQ people. These businesses lead the way on LGBTQ equality under the law through public engagement and support of basic civil rights protections based on sexual orientation and gender identity as well as through public opposition of anti-LGBTQ legislation.
Gathering at HRC’s office in Washington, D.C., representatives from government affairs, public policy and community relations of leading corporations heard firsthand from HRC Senior Vice President for Policy and Political Affairs JoDee Winterhof as well as David Stacy, Director Government Affairs, Sarah Warbelow, Legal Director and Jeremy Pittman, Deputy Field Director. The HRC team reviewed the landscape of LGBTQ-related legislative matters including the Equality Act, current LGBTQ-related litigation and state legislative action anticipated for 2017.
Companies committed to full inclusion are driven by business imperatives to attract and retain top talent, fully engage LGBTQ workers and to have access to fair-minded consumers and investors. These leaders are active in opposing anti-LGBTQ legislation across the states. Currently, over 200 business leaders continue to call for the full repeal of North Carolina’s discriminatory House Bill 2 and earlier this year businesses were active in helping to defeat anti-LGBTQ legislation in Georgia and Missouri.
Attendees heard more about HRC’s growing Business Coalition for the Equality Act, a group of 84 leading U.S. employers that support the Equality Act, federal legislation that would provide the same basic protections to LGBTQ people as are provided to other protected groups under federal law. The Equality Act creates clear, consistent protections to prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity in employment ensuring that LGBTQ employees are hired, fired, and promoted based on their performance. In addition, the bill provides protections from discrimination for LGBTQ people in housing, credit and jury service. The bill would also prohibit discrimination in public accommodations and federal funding on the basis of sex, sexual orientation and gender identity.
Through their thoughtful engagement on state legislation, support of LGBTQ-inclusive federal-level civil rights protections and commitment to LGBTQ inclusion around the globe, leading American businesses continue to communicate that LGBTQ diversity and inclusion is not only a sound business practice but truly a market imperative.