Pictured above: Chris Wallace and Belinda Matingou of TAB, HRC’s Beck Bailey and JoDee Winterhof and Michael Waldron of American Airlines.
Last week, HRC held a public policy roundtable in Dallas for corporate leaders engaged in supporting basic civil rights for LGBTQ people. These businesses lead the way on LGBTQ equality under the law through public support of basic civil rights protections for sexual orientation and gender identity, as well as through opposition of anti-LGBTQ legislation. American Airlines, a leader in LGBTQ workplace inclusion with a perfect 100 on the 2017 Corporate Equality Index and the distinction of being a “Best Place to Work for LGBT Equality,” hosted the event.
Gathering at American’s C.R. Smith Museum, representatives from government affairs, public policy and community relations of leading corporations heard firsthand from HRC Senior Vice President for Policy and Political Affairs JoDee Winterhof as well as Sarah Warbelow, HRC Legal Director and Marty Rouse, HRC National Field Director. The HRC team reviewed the landscape of LGBTQ-related legislative matters including the Equality Act, current LGBTQ-related litigation and state legislative action thus far in 2017 including anti-LGBTQ legilation in Texas such as State Sen. Lois Kolkhorst’s anti-transgender bill, SB 6, which seeks to deny the rights of transgender people in the Lone Star State, ignoring the national fallout from North Carolina’s HB2.
The Texas Association of Business co-presented with HRC and drove home the message that discriminatory bills such as SB 6 are likely to lead to massive economic losses and a toxic, harmful environment for businesses and organizations looking to do business in Texas. The “Keep Texas Open for Business” coalition recently released a study commissioned by the Texas Association of Business that shows that the state could suffer a loss of $8.5 billion in GDP and 185,000 jobs if the state moves forward on anti-LGBTQ bills.
Companies committed to full inclusion are driven by business imperatives to attract and retain top talent, fully engage LGBTQ workers and to have access to fair-minded consumers and investors. These leaders are active in opposing anti-LGBTQ legislation across the states.
Last year, over 200 business leaders joined an open letter calling for the full repeal of North Carolina’s discriminatory House Bill 2 and businesses were active in helping to defeat anti-LGBTQ legislation in Georgia and Missouri.
Through their thoughtful engagement on state legislation, support of LGBTQ-inclusive federal-level civil rights protections and commitment to LGBTQ inclusion around the globe, leading American businesses continue to communicate that LGBTQ diversity and inclusion is not only a sound business practice but truly a market imperative.
HRC is currently tracking more than 60 anti-LGBTQ legislative proposals in 19 states. For more information, visit http://hrc.im/2017legislature.