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More than 400 businesses back LGBTQ rights act

April 27, 2021 Updated Tue., April 27, 2021 at 8:34 a.m.

A giant Pride flag flies atop the Starbucks headquarters in celebration of Gay Pride Week in Seattle on June 24, 2014.   (Elaine Thompson)
A giant Pride flag flies atop the Starbucks headquarters in celebration of Gay Pride Week in Seattle on June 24, 2014.  (Elaine Thompson)
By Dee-Ann Durbin Associated Press

More than 400 companies – including Tesla, Pfizer, Delta Air Lines and Amazon – have signed on to support civil rights legislation for LGBTQ people that is moving through Congress, advocates said Tuesday.

The Human Rights Campaign, a Washington-based LGBTQ advocacy group, said its Business Coalition for the Equality Act has grown to 416 members, including dozens of Fortune 500 companies. Big names like Apple, PepsiCo, General Motors, CVS, Facebook, Marriott, Capital One, Starbucks and Home Depot pepper the list.

“It’s time that civil rights protections be extended to LGBT+ individuals nationwide on a clear, consistent and comprehensive basis,” said Carla Grant Pickens, IBM’s chief diversity and inclusion officer, in a statement distributed by the Human Rights Campaign.

The Equality Act would amend existing civil rights law to explicitly include sexual orientation and gender identification as protected characteristics. Those protections would extend to employment, housing, loan applications, education and other areas.

The bill passed the U.S. House 224-206 in February, with all Democrats but just three Republicans supporting it. Its fate in the closely divided Senate is uncertain. The House also passed the bill in the last Congress, but it didn’t advance to the Senate.

Among the bill’s opponents is the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, which has said it could force church halls and facilities to host functions that violate their beliefs.

Corporate endorsements of the bill have more than doubled since the House first passed it in 2019, the Human Rights Campaign said.

“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,” the Human Rights Campaign President Alphonso David said in a statement.

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