Posts tagged with "Equality Act"

LGBTQ+ illustration by Heather Skovlund for 360 Magazine

Corporate Leaders × Anti-Lgbtq Bills

Corporate leaders: Companies should work against anti-LGBTQ bills in Texas, other states 

Chris Adamo, vice president of Federal and Industry Affairs at Danone North America; Brad Figel, vice president of Public Affairs North America at Mars, Inc.; Molly Fogarty senior vice president of Corporate & Government Affairs at Nestlé USA; and Tom Langan, North America director of Sustainable Business & External Affairs for Unilever:

  • “As four of the largest food companies and major employers in the United States, we view the growing number of anti-LGBTQ+ bills under consideration in state legislatures, including those that target transgender people and particularly children, with increasing alarm.
  • “These bills are bad for families, for communities, for businesses and for the U.S. economy, all still reeling from the COVID-19 pandemic…This motivates us to continue using our influence to advocate for policies that establish full equality at the federal and state levels, including swift Senate passage of the Equality Act.
  • “Discriminatory legislation — in threat and in practice — directly and negatively impacts the ability of our businesses to compete. It undermines our ability to recruit our future workforces and retain existing talent in states like Arkansas, Florida, Kentucky, Tennessee, West Virginia, Texas and others enacting and considering draconian legislation.”
  • “Such policies are out of step with the views of most Americans. The overwhelming majority of Americans support full equality for LGBTQ+ people, according to recent data released by the Human Rights Campaign.”
  • Companies have a responsibility to actively work with federal and state legislators to advocate against bills that harm our employees and our customers, and to advance fairness and equality for all Americans”

We condemn dangerous, discriminatory legislation that serves as an attack on LGBTQ+ individuals, particularly transgender and non-binary people.

As four of the largest food companies and major employers in the United States, we view the growing number of anti-LGBTQ+ bills under consideration in state legislatures, including those that target transgender people and particularly children, with increasing alarm.

These bills are bad for families, for communities, for businesses and for the U.S. economy, all still reeling from the COVID-19 pandemic.

We condemn dangerous, discriminatory legislation that serves as an attack on LGBTQ+ individuals, particularly transgender and nonbinary people. Such laws not only threaten hard-won progress to bring greater awareness, support and equality to transgender Americans, they also threaten the livelihoods and safety of their communities and their families.

This motivates us to continue using our influence to advocate for policies that establish full equality at the federal and state levels, including swift Senate passage of the Equality Act.

Member companies of the Sustainable Food Policy Alliance, including Danone North America, Mars, Inc., Nestlé USA and Unilever United States, urge the entire U.S. business community to do the same.

This issue is not political. Providing the same basic protections to LGBTQ+ people as are provided to protected groups under federal law is the right thing to do for businesses and for society.

We employ tens of thousands of people in communities across the country. We embrace diversity in our workforces. Inclusive principles already guide the way we work, run our successful businesses, and engage with our employees and communities.

Discriminatory legislation — in threat and in practice — directly and negatively impacts the ability of our businesses to compete. It undermines our ability to recruit our future workforces and retain existing talent in states like Arkansas, Florida, Kentucky, Tennessee, West Virginia, Texas and others enacting and considering draconian legislation.

In Kentucky, for example, proposed legislation would allow health care providers to turn away LGBTQ+ and other patients, and bar trans youth from K-12 public school and university sports. Similarly, in Texas, legislators have proposed bills that would ban transgender girls from youth sports.

When states legislate this way, not only do they create an environment where not everyone feels safe and welcomed, they endorse it. Such environments deny transgender and nonbinary people the opportunity to fully contribute to the economies in places where they work and live. This harms them and their families and hinders businesses and local communities.

We applaud Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson’s decision this week to veto legislation that would have banned gender-affirming medical care for transgender youth. Unfortunately, the Arkansas legislature overrode the governor’s veto Tuesday.

Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves signs a bill in March 2021 to ban transgender athletes from competing on girls or women’s sports teams.

Such policies are out of step with the views of most Americans. The overwhelming majority of Americans support full equality for LGBTQ+ people, according to recent data released by the Human Rights Campaign.

Legislation hurts states’ economies

The ramifications of these discriminatory bills on states’ economic and financial health are also well-documented. A UCLA study found that the social, economic and health effects of stigma and discrimination against LGBTQ+ people negatively impact Texas’ economy by tens of millions of dollars each year. Another study by the Texas Association of Business estimated that discriminatory legislation could result in an estimated economic loss to Texas’ gross domestic product ranging from $964 million to $8.5 billion.

The impacts of such bills are not limited to the states where they are passed. Researchers that studied 39 countries found a clear link between LGBTQ+ discriminatory practices and legislation and the corresponding loss of potential economic output. For LGBTQ+ youth, the study found that discrimination harms their learning, resulting in increased dropout rates and, consequently, reduced participation in the workforce.

We acknowledge that words are powerful. But for companies to engage new generations of workers and consumers, while fostering an environment good for people and for business, we must move beyond only public statements of support for LGBTQ+ issues.

Companies should protect employees

Companies have a responsibility to actively work with federal and state legislators to advocate against bills that harm our employees and our customers, and to advance fairness and equality for all Americans.

We four SFPA companies are committed to stepping up and taking action, including through our advocacy on this important issue. Doing so will support an environment in which all people can grow, thrive, compete and succeed as their true, authentic selves.

Chris Adamo is vice president of Federal and Industry Affairs at Danone North America. Brad Figel is vice president of Public Affairs North America at Mars, Inc. Molly Fogarty is senior vice president of Corporate & Government Affairs at Nestlé USA. Tom Langan is North America director of Sustainable Business & External Affairs for Unilever.

Corporate leaders: Companies should work against anti-LGBTQ bills in Texas, other states

Transgender illustration by Rita Azar for 360 Magazine

Anti-Trans Bill Passages

First Anti-Trans Bill of 2021 Heads to Mississippi Governor’s Desk

Bill is the first specifically anti-transgender piece of legislation to pass a legislature this session, and the second anti-LGBTQ piece of legislation to do so

Mississippi passed SB 2536, an anti-transgender sports bill. This bill marks the first piece of specifically anti-transgender legislation this year to be sent to a governor’s desk and comes on the same day the first piece of anti-LGBTQ legislation, SB 124 — a broad sweeping religious refusal bill — passed the second chamber in South Dakota. The legislative fight to pass discriminatory anti-transgender legislation has been fast and furious, led by national groups aiming to stymie LGBTQ progress made on the national level and in many states. There are so far 131 anti-LGBTQ bills under consideration in state legislatures across the country. Of those, 71 directly target transgender people and about half of those would, like SB 2536, ban transgender girls and women from participating in sports consistent with their gender identity. Human Rights Campaign President Alphonso David issued the following statement in response to the passage of SB 2536 in Mississippi:

“As thousands die each day of COVID-19 and millions of Americans are out of work, some state legislatures have chosen to attack, demean and dehumanize their constituents rather than focus on delivering relief and assistance. These dangerous bills are designed to make the lives of transgender kids more difficult while they try to navigate their adolescence. Anti-transgender legislation being heard and voted on across the country are legislating against problems that simply do not exist – as even their proponents admit. This is just the latest iteration of their losing fight against equality and a shameful attempt to throw a wrench in the progress we’re making with a pro-equality President and Congress.

“Today, in sending SB 2536 to Governor Reeves, Mississippi became the first state to take the plunge by passing legislation specifically attacking transgender children. Mississippi is so determined to be on the wrong side of history that it is defying the evidence in favor of discrimination.  There is simply no justification for banning transgender girls and women from participating in athletics other than discrimination. Like all girls, transgender girls just want to play and be part of a team with their friends. History will not look kindly on this moment in Mississippi.”

These bills are not addressing any real problem, and they’re not being requested by constituents.  Rather, this effort is being driven by national far-right organizations attempting to score political points by sowing fear and hate. What they don’t understand is opposing equality is highly unpopular — even among Trump voters — and states that pass legislation that attacks our community will face severe economic, legal, and reputational harm. In many cases, these legislative pushes are being prioritized above COVID-19 response and relief. This push comes as equality measures gain not only popular support but legislative momentum on the federal level, with the Biden Administration championing equality in early Executive Actions and Congress considering the Equality Act within the first 100 days of the new Administration. 

A fight driven by national anti-LGBTQ groups, not local legislators or public concern

These bills come from the same forces that drove previous anti-equality fights by pushing copycat bills across state houses — hateful anti-LGBTQ organizations like the Heritage Foundation, Alliance Defending Freedom (designated by Southern Poverty Law Center as a hate group), and Eagle Forum among others.

  • For example, Montana’s HB 112, the first anti-transgender sports bill to be passed through a legislative chamber in any state, was worked on by the Alliance Defending Freedom.

Trans equality is popular: Anti-transgender legislation is a low priority, even among Trump voters

In a 10-swing-state poll conducted by the Human Rights Campaign & Hart Research Group last fall:

  • At least 60% of Trump voters across each of the 10 swing states say transgender people should be able to live freely and openly.
  • At least 87% of respondents across each of the 10 swing states say transgender people should have equal access to medical care, with many states breaking 90% support
  • When respondents were asked about how they prioritized the importance of banning transgender people from participating in sports as compared to other policy issues, the issue came in dead last, with between 1% and 3% prioritizing the issue.

States that pass anti-transgender legislation suffer economic, legal, reputational harm

Analyses conducted in the aftermath of previous divisive anti-transgender bills across the country, like the bathroom bills introduced in Texas and North Carolina and an anti-transgender sports ban in Idaho, show that there would be or has been devastating fallout.

  • Idaho is the only state to have passed an anti-trans sports ban to date, and that law was swiftly suspended by a federal district court. The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) came out against the Idaho bill and others like it and subsequently moved planned tournament games out of Idaho.
  • The Associated Press projected that the North Carolina bathroom bill could have cost the state $3.76 billion over 10 years.
  • During a fight over an anti-transgender bathroom bill in 2017, the Texas Association of Business estimated $8.5 billion in economic losses, risking 185,000 jobs in the process due to National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) and professional sporting event cancellations, a ban on taxpayer funded travel to those states, cancellation of movie productions, and businesses moving projects out of state.

TOMORROW: HRC To Hold Emergency Press Conference To Discuss Passage Of First Anti-Transgender & Anti-LGBTQ Bills of 2021

Thursday, March 4th, the Human Rights Campaign will be hosting an emergency virtual press conference to discuss the passage of SB 2536, an anti-transgender sports ban bill in Mississippi, marking the first time in 2021 that a specifically anti-transgender bill will be sent to a governor’s desk, and SB 124, a religious refusal bill in South Dakota that marked the first anti-LGBTQ bill sent to a governor’s desk. Today’s press call will include reaction from Human Rights Campaign President Alphonso David, expert analysis from State Legislative Director and Senior Counsel, affected voices from the states and perspective from in-state advocates who will detail the bills and offer context for other anti-transgender bills making its way through state legislatures across the country.

PLEASE RSVP BY EMAILING WYATT.RONAN@HRC.ORG

WHAT:

Press call discussing the passage of SB 2536, the first anti-transgender bill of 2021

WHO:

Alphonso David, President, Human Rights Campaign

Cathryn Oakley, State Legislative Director & Senior Counsel, Human Rights Campaign

Janna Farley, ACLU of South Dakota

Jarvis Dorth, ACLU of Mississippi

Katy Binstead, parent of a transgender young person in Mississippi

WHERE:

Zoom Virtual Press Link here. (passcode: 880430) (Please RSVP to wyatt.ronan@hrc.org)

WHEN:

Thursday, March 4th, 2021 – 9:45 am ET

The Human Rights Campaign is America’s largest civil rights organizations working to achieve equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people. HRC envisions a world where LGBTQ people are embraced as full members of society at home, at work and in every community.

Legislative Update: Anti-LGBTQ Bills Moving In 6 States

HRC Tracking 147 Anti-LGBTQ Bills, 73 Explicitly Anti-Transgender Bills

The legislative fight to pass discriminatory anti-transgender legislation has been fast and furious, led by national groups aiming to stymie LGBTQ progress made on the national level and in many states. The Human Rights Campaign is currently tracking 147 anti-LGBTQ bills across the country, including 73 explicitly anti-transgender bills. Three of these bills have already been passed and could soon be signed into law, and more are coming. We are tracking 37 bills aimed at banning transgender kids from playing sports, 25 bills aimed at limiting medical care for transgender people, and 22 bills to allow discrimination under the guise of religious freedom.

In Mississippi and South Dakota, state legislators have already passed bills targeting LGBTQ people, sending three pieces of anti-LGBTQ legislation to the governor for signature or veto. Both states passed bills to ban transgender girls from playing sports. South Dakota legislators also passed a religious refusal bill granting a license to discriminate against LGBTQ people.

Yesterday, an anti-transgender sports bill in Arkansas, SB 354, was also considered by a Senate committee and recommended for passage. Today, three more anti-LGBTQ bills will be heard in committees in state legislatures across the country.

Arkansas’ HB 1570, an anti-transgender medical bill, is expected to have a hearing in House Public Health, Welfare and Labor Committee.

New Hampshire’s HB 198, an anti-transgender sports bill, will be heard in the House Education Committee.

Tennessee’s HB 1233 is scheduled for a hearing in the K-12 Subcommittee. It is known locally as the “student bathroom bill 2.0” because it would deny transgender Tennesseans access to the bathrooms and locker rooms consistent with their gender identity.

Tomorrow, seven anti-equality bills will be heard, five of which explicitly target the transgender community.

Alabama’s HB 1/SB 10, which would make it a felony to provide gender-affirming care to transgender kids, will be heard in the state’s House Health Committee.

In Arkansas, a hearing is expected in the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday for the anti-transgender sports bill SB 450.

In Missouri, a hearing is expected on HB 33, which would ban gender affirming care for transgender kids.

In Montana, a hearing is expected at 3 PM MST on SB 99, which would require school districts to obtain written consent from a parent in order to teach their child sex ed and ban organizations like Planned Parenthood from offering any instructional materials.

In New Hampshire, HB 440 would allow discrimination against LGBTQ people under the guise of religious liberty. A hearing is scheduled for 9 AM on Wednesday in the House Judiciary Committee’s executive session.

In Tennessee, two more anti-LGBTQ bills are slated for hearings on Wednesday. HB 578 is an anti-transgender healthcare bill, and SB 1224 is an anti-transgender bathroom bill.