Monday, March 20, 2023

Business Leaders Call for Nondiscrimination Protections for LGBTQ Virginians

Today, more than 30 major Virginia employers sent a letter to Virginia lawmakers calling for comprehensive LGBTQ nondiscrimination protections, saying employees, their families, and customers deserve equal opportunities at work and in their daily lives. 

The letter, addressed to House Speaker Eileen Filler-Corn and Senate Majority Leader Richard Saslaw, notes that “everyone deserves the opportunity to work hard, earn a living, own or rent a home, access credit, and contribute to their community.”  It also underscores the economic case for such protections: “Because many LGBTQ and non-LGBTQ workers prefer to live and work in communities with nondiscrimination protections, such a law will give Virginia’s employees tangible advantages in recruitment and retention.”

The letter was released by the Virginia Values Coalition, a group of statewide and national organizations and individuals pushing for passage of the Virginia Values Act. The bill, sponsored by Sen. Adam Ebbin (D-Alexandria) and Del. Mark Sickles, would modernize Virginia’s existing human rights laws and prohibit discrimination against LGBTQ Virginians. 

“Businesses throughout the Commonwealth are standing together to oppose discrimination and support laws that protect LGBTQ Virginians,” said Vee Lamneck, Equality Virginia, Executive Director. “We’re calling on lawmakers to ensure all hard-working Virginians and their families are protected from discrimination.”

“Business leaders know that a welcoming Virginia is crucial to their economic competitiveness – and central to their core values of inclusion and respect for everyone, said Freedom for All Americans CEO and National Campaign Director Kasey Suffredini. “Nondiscrimination protections for LGBTQ Virginians and visitors will make it easier for businesses to recruit talented workers, to expand investments in the state, and to attract tourism business. These business leaders support nondiscrimination because they know that everyone wins when their customers, their employees, and their employees’ families feel welcome, included, and treated with dignity.”

“Virginians and businesses agree – it is past time for LGBTQ people in the commonwealth to have comprehensive non-discrimination protections,” said HRC President Alphonso David. “These protections are good for business, good for tourism, good for the economy, and most importantly, vital for the 250,000+ LGBTQ adults living in Virginia. It’s heartening to see so many Virginia businesses publicly support these protections and push for equality for all.”

The 30 companies that co-signed the letter include:

  • Accenture
  • Advance Auto Parts
  • Altria Group, Inc.
  • Amalgamated Bank
  • Amazon, Inc.
  • American Airlines
  • Anheuser Busch
  • AT&T
  • Capital One
  • Cummins, Inc.
  • Dell Technologies
  • Dominion Energy
  • Dow Inc.
  • Ernst & Young LLP
  • HCA Virginia Health System
  • Hilton
  • Huntington Ingalls Industries
  • IBM Corporation
  • Inova
  • Marriott International, Inc.
  • Marsh & McLennan Companies, INC.
  • Newport News Shipbuilding
  • Reed Smith
  • Royal Bank of Canada
  • Salesforce
  • Sustainable Food Policy Alliance, including:
  • Danone North America
  • Mars, Incorporated
  • Nestlé USA
  • Unilever United States
  • Trillium Asset Management
  • Verizon
  • WestRock

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