Support for the Equality Act reached a major milestone this year as the Human Rights Campaign announced our Business Coalition now includes more than 500 major U.S. corporations.
The coalition includes more than 160 Fortune 500 companies with business operations in all 50 states and these companies collectively employ more than 15 million people in the United States. Each one of these companies has made a commitment to fighting for explicit federal protections for the entire LGBTQ+ community.
Some of the latest additions to the coalition include Honeywell and Edward Jones. Reaching this milestone of support makes history as the largest coalition of businesses coming together to support LGBTQ+ rights.
While these companies are currently operating headquarters in 33 states, the current patchwork of non-discrimination protections in the United States means that a number of these companies operate their headquarters in a state that does not protect LGBTQ+ people from discrimination. And with operations in all 50 states, the risk of discrimination spans to even more of these companies. The relationship between businesses and the LGBTQ+ community is inextricably linked; these companies employ LGBTQ+ people, parents of LGBTQ+ kids, and other allies.
Edward Jones, a company with a 100 score on the HRC CEI, called support for the LGBTQ+ community, “inherent in our purpose-driven culture,” according to Jennifer Kingston, Head of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion. “We nurture a workplace where all of our associates can be their authentic selves as they pursue their personal growth and possibilities,” Kingston said.
The Equality Act has bipartisan support in Congress and has broad support from Americans across the country. The Public Religion Research Institute published research that revealed an unprecedented 82% of Americans support LGBTQ+ protections in jobs, public accommodations, and housing. These protections garner support from 92% of Democrats, 85% of Independents and 67% of Republicans.
Business leaders recognize that our communities are stronger when everyone is protected equally under the law. While passing the Equality Act is only one step on the path the full LGBTQ+ liberation, it’s perhaps one of the most important steps we can make right now. REI’s Wilma Wallace, Chief Diversity & Social Impact Officer, said, “Our co-op and broader society are stronger when everyone—in consideration of their race, gender identity, and sexual orientation—can prosper and feel welcome to be their full selves.” REI has been a long-time advocate for the LGBTQ+ community. “We are proud to support the communities, advocates, companies, and legislators working to advance LGBTQ+ rights,” Wallace said.
“This incredible milestone reinforces the support the Equality Act has across the country,” said Joni Madison, Interim President at the Human Rights Campaign. “In 2022, no person should ever be subjected to harassment or discrimination because of who they are. The Equality Act will take major strides toward ensuring that LGBTQ+ people are treated with equal dignity in the eyes of the law, and affirm the longstanding American value that everyone deserves to be treated equally and fairly.”
This is not the first time the business community has come together to support the LGBTQ+ community. Prior to this coalition for the Equality Act, the second largest backing of support for LGBTQ+ equality was the business amicus brief for marriage equality in 2015, which included 379 businesses. And HRC has been working for years to grow this base of support for the Equality Act among the business community.
The Equality Act is a landmark piece of legislation that will guarantee explicit protections under the law to the LGBTQ+ community in major areas of life. Our Reality Flag campaign highlights the current patchwork of non-discrimination protections that exist across the states that leave millions of LGBTQ+ people vulnerable to discrimination. It’s time to pass the Equality Act.