PRESS RELEASE: More Than 20 Major Businesses Across Florida Calling on Congress to Support Urgent Passage of the Equality Act
For Immediate Release: July 21, 2021
More Than 20 Major Businesses Across Florida Calling on Congress to Support Urgent Passage of the Equality Act
World Champion Buccaneers and Stanley Cup Champions Lightning join AirBnB, Citrix, Lyft, and Deutsche Bank in Calling for LGBTQ Protections
TALLAHASSEE, FL — Today, more than 20 major businesses and employers across Florida released an open letter calling on Congress to support the passage of the Equality Act — federal legislation that would modernize and improve civil rights laws by including explicit, permanent protections for LGBTQ people, as well as women, people of color, and people of all faiths.
The businesses from all regions of Florida – including BlueGrace Logistics, Carlton Fields, Citrix, Office Depot and Owens Corning – highlight the need to attract and retain talent, provide LGBTQ workers with protections, and create an inclusive environment throughout the state.
“Passage of the Equality Act isn’t just the right thing to do – it’s the smart thing to do economically,” said Carol Dover, President & CEO of Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association. “As we recover from the impacts of COVID-19, the protections guaranteed under the Equality Act are vital for our state’s restaurant and hospitality industries to remain competitive and welcoming to all so that we can bring back our guests and continue to rebuild and strengthen tourism in the Sunshine State.”
Currently, 29 states do not have laws that explicitly protect LGBTQ people from discrimination. The Florida Commission on Human Relations – the state’s civil rights enforcement agency – has made clear that it will enforce existing LGBTQ protections in employment, housing, and public spaces consistent with the Supreme Court’s ruling in Bostock v Clayton County and Florida civil rights law. Nevertheless, critical gaps in protections endure. Without the Equality Act, LGBTQ Floridians remain vulnerable to being denied healthcare, removed from a jury, or denied credit and federally funded services simply because of who they are.
“As a nationwide employer, the current patchwork approach to nondiscrimination policies in this country creates unpredictability and uncertainty for businesses like ours that operate across multiple cities and states,” said Bobby Harris, President & CEO of BlueGrace Logistics. “It is critical that our employees are able to live without fear for their family’s safety, security, and loss of opportunities. Bostock creates an imperative for Congress to act. It’s time to finish the job.”
The Florida businesses join more than 400 major U.S. businesses, a majority of Americans, hundreds of members of Congress, hundreds of advocacy organizations, and more than 60 business associations — including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the National Association of Manufacturers — in endorsing the federal legislation.
Nearly two-thirds of LGBTQ people have reported experiencing discrimination in their personal lives. The Equality Act would level the playing field for everyone, guaranteeing that LGBTQ Americans are extended the same federal nondiscrimination protections that others in the United States have enjoyed for decades, and codifying the Supreme Court’s Bostock decision to ensure clarity for everyone.
The Equality Act would also extend protections to millions of women who aren’t covered under some existing federal anti-discrimination laws and expand the public spaces and services that can’t discriminate against anyone based on race, national origin, or religion.
The list of signers and statement can be accessed at https://freedomforallamericans.org/florida-businesses-tell-congress-to-pass-equality-act
Equality Florida is the largest civil rights organization dedicated to securing full equality for Florida’s lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) community. Through education, grassroots organizing, coalition building, and lobbying, we are changing Florida so that no one suffers harassment or discrimination on the basis of their sexual orientation or gender identity.