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Amazon, Delta, Pfizer and Tesla among companies backing LGBTQ bill

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Amazon, Delta Air Lines, Pfizer and Tesla are among the more than 400 corporations supporting civil rights legislation for LGBTQ people, according to the Human Rights Campaign.

Dozens of Fortune 500 companies are among the 416 members of the Washington-based advocacy group's Business Coalition for the Equality Act, including Apple, CVS, Facebook, General Motors, Home Depot, Marriott, PepsiCo and Starbucks. 

"It's time that civil rights protections be extended to LGBT+ individuals nationwide on a clear, consistent and comprehensive basis," Carla Grant Pickens, IBM's chief diversity and inclusion officer, said Tuesday in a statement distributed by the Human Rights Campaign.

The push for the measure comes amid a surge in legislation targeting the rights of transgender youth across the country.

The Equality Act would amend existing civil rights law to explicitly include sexual orientation and gender identification as protected characteristics. Those protections would extend to areas such as employment, housing, loan applications and education.

The bill passed the U.S. House 224-206 in February, with all Democrats and only three Republicans supporting it. Its fate in the closely divided Senate is uncertain.

The measure first passed the House in 2019, but was not considered by the then Republican-controlled Senate and faced opposition from the Trump administration. Last year, the Supreme Court issued a ruling stating that the protections guaranteed by the 1964 Civil Rights Act against sex discrimination extended to discrimination against LGBTQ Americans. The Equality Act would explicitly expand those protections to include discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, as opposed to having those safeguards grouped under the umbrella term of "sex."

Among the bill's opponents is the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, which has said it could force church halls and facilities to host functions that violate their beliefs and therefore discriminates against people of faith. 

Corporate endorsements of the bill have more than doubled since the House first passed it in 2019, the Human Rights Campaign said.

"We are seeing growing support from business leaders because they understand that the Equality Act is good for their employees, good for their businesses and good for our country," the Human Rights Campaign President Alphonso David said in the group's statement.

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