The U.S. Supreme Court is currently weighing a ruling on a trio of cases that will decide whether LGBTQ people are protected from discrimination under existing federal civil rights laws – laws that include workplace protections.
Out & Equal CEO, Erin Uritus, spoke at a rally on the steps of the Supreme Court as the justices heard the case. This summer Out & Equal partnered with other organizations to bring together more than 200 major companies on a “friend of the court” brief.
Here is the text of Erin’s speech from the rally below:
Good afternoon; I am Erin Uritus, CEO of Out & Equal Workplace Advocates.
Thank you all for being here! And thank you, to the ACLU, to the plaintiffs, and to the generations of brave activists and organizers that brought us here today.
Out & Equal works with the world’s largest employers – businesses and government – to create workplaces, all around the globe, where all of us are equal, belong, and thrive.
We are proud to have helped galvanize the 206 major businesses who signed onto the amicus brief. Representing more than 7 million employees, and more than 5 trillion in revenue, these companies told the Supreme Court that Title VII protections are for all of us, including the LGBTQ community, and to decide otherwise would be as bad for business as it would be for the country.
This case is not creating a new space of equality, it is affirming the inalienable equality that our country’s framers intended, and which our communities have fought for. Every generation has had to take up the mantle of civil rights. As women, as people of color, as people of faith, as people without faith, as people with disabilities, as LGBTQ people – we are all equal under the law.
And, this is not just about the letter of the law. At its heart, this is a profound question of equity and belonging.
I had the chance to talk with Aimee Stephens last week. She is a humble, hard-working woman. She worked every day in a place many people want to avoid. She did the work few of us do, but which we all rely on in our most vulnerable and heartbreaking moments of grief. She took care of the friends and families of those who died. She made dignity possible when it was needed the most.
Every single day on the job, Aimee understood what was at stake – everyone is someone’s dear friend, someone’s mother, someone’s brother, someone’s child. Everyone deserves respect. And yet, when the moment of reciprocity came – when she let the place she served so dutifully know who she was – she was fired. That doesn’t just violate the law, it violates a basic covenant of decency and human belonging.
Aimee – and the millions of LGBTQ workers in this country – we all deserve respect and dignity. And we will stand with you and fight with you until it is so!
One week from today more than 700 Fortune 1000 companies are sending 6,000 people to Washington for the Out & Equal Workplace Summit. Successful companies understand that workplaces that foster a culture of belonging for the transgender engineer or the bisexual accountant are investing in their own innovation and longevity. And guess what, it’s not just about LGBTQ people, but our myriad friends and families who simply won’t work for companies that are apathetic or discriminate.
We will not rest until showing up for work is no longer an act of courage for LGBTQ people, but we can truly be OUT and equal.