Record 477 (95.4%) Of FORTUNE 500 Provide Sexual Orientation Protection

President Obama, Vice President Biden and Congressman Ryan Support ENDA

PHILADELPHIA, Aug. 15, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Equality Forum, a national and international lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) civil rights organization reported that a record 477 (95.4%) of the 2012 FORTUNE 500 Companies voluntarily include sexual orientation in their employment non-discrimination policies.  Starting in 2004, Equality Forum in collaboration with Professor Louis Thomas, Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and Ian Ayres, William K. Townsend Professor, Yale Law School has made the business case to FORTUNE 500 CEOs, HR Directors and members of their Board of Directors as well as made the shareholder case to their largest institutional shareholders.  In 2004, there were 323 (64.6%) of the FORTUNE 500 Companies that provided sexual orientation workplace protection.

"Ninety percent (90%) of Americans mistakenly believe that sexual orientation workplace protection is provided under the federal Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA).  Twenty-one states and the District of Columbia mandate workplace sexual orientation protection," stated Malcolm Lazin, Executive Director, Equality Forum.  "In most of America, gays and lesbians can be fired solely because of their sexual orientation and without any misconduct or violation of corporate policy."

This is the first time that the Republican vice presidential candidate and the Democratic presidential and vice presidential candidates support passage of ENDA.  President Obama and Vice President Biden support the inclusion of sexual orientation in federal ENDA.  In 2007, Congressman Paul Ryan voted in favor of the unsuccessful attempt to amend ENDA to include sexual orientation and gender identity.

While Gov. Romney opposes workplace discrimination, he is not on record as supporting ENDA to include sexual orientation and/or gender identity. 

"Equality Forum calls on Senators Mitch McConnell and Harry Reid and Speaker John Boehner and Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi to include sexual orientation and gender identity in ENDA and pass that amendment to ENDA in the lame duck session of Congress," stated Lazin. "The Republican vice presidential nominee and Democratic presidential and vice presidential nominees, the FORTUNE 500 companies and public opinion support including sexual orientation in the federal Employment Non-Discrimination Act. There is overwhelming bipartisan and business support for protecting LGBT Americans in the workplace and no rational basis for delay."

According to recent polls, over 75% of Americans support the inclusion of sexual orientation in federal ENDA including a majority of Democrats, Republicans, Independents, seniors, Catholics and small business owners, among others.

To find the 23 (4.6%) of the 2012 FORTUNE 500 companies that do not provide sexual orientation protection and the 477 (95.4%) that do provide sexual orientation protection, visit www.equalityforum.com/fortune500.

Equality Forum (www.equalityforum.com) is a national and international LGBT civil rights organization with an educational focus.  Equality Forum coordinates LGBT History Month, undertakes high impact initiatives, produces documentary films and presents the largest annual national and international LGBT civil rights summit.

SOURCE Equality Forum



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