Hundreds of businesses sign on to support LGBTQ rights legislation

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Hundreds of companies have signed on to a coalition in support of the Equality Act, a sweeping civil rights bill that increases protections for LGBTQ people in areas including education, housing and employment.

The Human Rights Campaign announced in a statement that 416 companies, including dozens of Fortune 500 companies, have signed on to its Business Coalition for the Equality Act. According to the organization, the companies collectively employ more than 14.6 million people in the U.S.

Of the large companies that joined the alliance are Apple, 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,” Human Rights Campaign President Alphonso David said in a statement, according to The AP.

The House passed the Equality Act in February, largely along party lines in a 224-206 vote. Three Republicans crossed the aisle in support of the bill: Reps. Tom Reed (N.Y.), John Katko (N.Y.) and Brian Fitzpatrick (Pa.).

The measure, if passed by the Senate and signed into law by President Biden, would amend the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Equal Credit Opportunity Act and the Jury Selection and Services Act by expanding existing protections to cover sexual orientation and gender identity.

“It’s time for the Senate to listen to the business community and the public and pass this long overdue legislation,” David added.

“It’s time that civil rights protections be extended to LGBT+ individuals nationwide on a clear, consistent, and comprehensive basis,” IBM Global Chief Diversity & Inclusion Officer Carla Grant Pickens said in a statement included in the Human Rights Campaign’s announcement.

The passage of the bill and support from hundreds of companies comes amid a fight between major U.S. companies and Republican-led states regarding legislation targeting transgender people.

Legislatures in Texas, Missouri and Tennessee are considering measures that would enforce restrictions on transgender people, which has prompted backlash from corporations including Amazon, IBM and Marriott.

The Human Rights Campaign previously announced that 87 companies had signed the Business Statement Opposing Anti-LGBTQ State Legislation, illustrating their opposition to harmful legislation that is meant to restrict access for LGBTQ people in society.

Updated at 1:26 p.m.

Tags Brian Fitzpatrick Equality Act Human rights Joe Biden John Katko LGBTQ LGBTQ rights Tom Reed

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