Out & Equal provided written testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee to call for the passage of the Equality Act – the landmark civil rights legislation that would provide clear and permanent protections under federal law for LGBTQ Americans in key areas of life, including employment, housing, access to public spaces, credit, education, jury service, and federally funded programs.

The written testimony is below.

March 24, 2021

Out & Equal, a global organization that partners with Fortune 500 companies to advance LGBTQ workplace equality, urges every member of the Senate to support the Equality Act, which will provide comprehensive federal protections for the LGBTQ community in employment, housing, public accommodations, public education, and more.

The need for the Senate to pass the Equality Act is urgent. Every day that passes without the Equality Act means our nation’s laws are woefully lagging behind our basic ideals of equality and fairness. Nobody should have to live in fear of discrimination because of who they are, who they love, or where they live.

Recent polls show that 7 in 10 Americans support nondiscrimination protections for the LGBTQ community – across party lines, religious affiliation, location, and more. Additionally, 83% of all voters support President Joseph Biden’s executive actions prohibiting workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

The business community has risen to be one of the most vocal and powerful advocates for equality because it speaks to their values and because the business case is so compelling: Employers with robust protections and benefits for LGBTQ employees are proven leaders in innovation, retention, and performance.

Given the lack of LGBTQ federal civil rights protections, America’s leading businesses have stepped up to fill in the gaps. That is good for their workforces and for business. But they shouldn’t have to do this. Over the past twenty years, Fortune 500 and other major companies have implemented sexual orientation and gender identity nondiscrimination protections, offered equitable benefits, and adopted practices that care for LGBTQ employees and their families. And yet, without federal legislation, the discrepancy results in discrimination and fear. 

Major businesses are calling for passage of the Equality Act in record numbers because they care about their employees both in and outside of the workplace. Business leaders understand that what happens to LGBTQ employees outside of the workplace directly impacts how they are able to show up to do their jobs. They know that employees at risk of being denied housing access to public accommodations, federal funded programs, and more, are often unable to bring their best selves into the workplace.

Out & Equal is pleased to stand with the National LGBTQ Task Force, PFLAG, Human Rights Campaign, Freedom for All Americans, National Black Justice Coalition, and many more LGBTQ organizations in wholeheartedly and enthusiastically endorsing the Equality Act. Through our work with hundreds of the largest companies in the United States, we know that businesses want to see LGBTQ civil rights protections cemented into law.

We hope that the Senate will fully support this legislation to ensure the safety, protections, and justice for all. Thank you.