60 businesses form coalition to push for Equality Act

A newly formed business coalition that consists of 60 members — including Apple, Coca-Cola and Target Corp. — will urge passage of comprehensive LGBT non-discrimination legislation known as the Equality Act, the Human Rights Campaign announced on Thursday.

The initiative, known as the Business Coalition for the Equality Act, consists of companies that operate in all 50 states, have headquarters in 22 states, have a combined $1.9 trillion in revenue and employ more than 4.2 million workers in the United States, according to the Human Rights Campaign.

Each of the companies have endorsed the Equality Act, which was introduced in July by Rep. David Cicilline (D-R.I.) in the U.S. House and Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) in the U.S. Senate. The legislation would amend the Civil Rights Act and the Fair Housing Act to include a prohibition on anti-LGBT discrimination in all areas of federal civil rights law.

“These business leaders are showing true leadership and fighting to end a shameful status quo that leaves LGBT people at risk in a majority of states for being denied services or fired because of who they are or who they love,” said Human Rights Campaign President Chad Griffin. “We’re proud of all these corporate leaders stepping forward to say that all Americans, including LGBT people, should be able to live free from fear of discrimination and have a fair chance to earn a living.”

The Equality Act has 174 co-sponsors in the House and 40 co-sponsors in the U.S. House. Although the legislation initially had only Democratic co-sponsor upon introduction, Rep. Robert Dold (R-Ill.) became the first Republican co-sponsor in the U.S. House and Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) became the first Republican co-sponsor in the U.S. Senate earlier this year.

In a statement, Merkley said he welcomes the support of the 60-member coalition in support of the Equality Act, saying the measure is good for U.S. business.

“No one should have to fear discrimination simply because of who they are or whom they love,” Merkley said. “It’s incomprehensibly wrong that in many states, a couple could marry in the morning and be evicted from their apartment or fired from their jobs in the afternoon. Full equality is the right thing to do, and it’s good for business too.”

There’s no explicit prohibition on anti-LGBT discrimination in federal law. Courts are beginning to interpret the gender provisions of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act to bar anti-LGBT discrimination in the workplace, but certain provisions of that historic law don’t include gender protections, such as the prohibition on bias in public accommodations. That leaves LGBT people vulnerable to discrimination unless they live in states with their own comprehensive LGBT non-discrimination protections.

The complete list of Business Coalition for the Equality Act members follows:

  • Abercrombie & Fitch Co.
  • Accenture
  • Airbnb Inc.
  • Amazon.com Inc.
  • American Airlines
  • American Eagle Outfitters
  • Apple Inc.
  • Best Buy Co. Inc.
  • Biogen
  • Boehringer Ingelheim USA Corp.
  • Broadridge Financial Solutions Inc.
  • Brown-Forman Corp.
  • CA Technologies Inc.
  • CVS Health Corp.
  • Caesars Entertainment Corp.
  • Capital One Financial Corp.
  • Cardinal Health Inc.
  • Choice Hotels International Inc
  • Coca-Cola
  • Corning Inc.
  • Diageo North America
  • Dropbox
  • EMC Corp.
  • Facebook Inc.
  • GAP
  • General Electric Co.
  • General Mills Inc.
  • Google Inc.
  • Hewlett-Packard Co.
  • Hilton Worldwide Inc.
  • Hyatt Hotels Corp.
  • IBM Corp.
  • Intel Corp.
  • Johnson & Johnson
  • Kellogg Co.
  • Levi Strauss & Co.
  • Marriott International Inc.
  • MasterCard Inc.
  • McGraw Hill Financial
  • Microsoft Corp.
  • Monsanto Co.
  • Moody’s Corp.
  • Nike Inc.
  • Oracle Corp.
  • Orbitz Worldwide Inc.
  • PepsiCo Inc.
  • Qualcomm Inc.
  • Replacements Ltd.
  • Salesforce
  • Sodexho
  • Sodexo Inc.
  • Symantec Corp.
  • T-Mobile USA Inc.
  • Target Corp.
  • Tech Data Corp.
  • The Dow Chemical Co.
  • The Hershey Company
  • Twitter Inc.
  • Unilever
  • WeddingWire Inc.