Living, working and thriving with equal protection under the law seems a given in 2016 — but some state legislatures and municipalities are considering legislation that aims to set back the clock on equality.
In 2015, the right for members of the LGBTQ community to marry became law in the U.S., when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of the constitutionality of same-sex marriages. But even while marriage equality is the law of the land in this country, individual bills in states — such as Georgia's all-too-recent House Bill 757 — are putting hard-won rights in jeopardy.
Georgia’s legislation, H.B. 757, would allow clergy members to opt out of performing same-sex wedding ceremonies should they not want to. The argument here is that religious belief of said clergy effectively trumps the right to full equality under the law. Policies like this take a large, very troublesome step backward in the fight for equality and freedom for all.
Gap Inc., which has taken a stand against discriminatory practices impacting the LGBTQ community, is proud to join other companies in urging lawmakers throughout the United States to vote against this type of discriminatory policy. The Supreme Court has established the right for all to marry; it's time to say "enough is enough" to state-led attempts to turn back the hands of time.
"Gap Inc. believes in equality for all,” said Laura Wilkinson, spokesperson for Gap Inc. “We raise our voice in opposition to discriminatory legislation or policies that would turn back the clock on equality, such as H.B. 757 in Georgia. The United States Supreme Court has guaranteed the right for same sex couples to enjoy full equality under the law. We're proud to join other companies in urging lawmakers in state capitals and city halls throughout the country to ensure equality for one and all. Discrimination is bad for business."
Underscoring the company’s commitment to inclusion and equality, Gap Inc. recently announced support for federal legislation designed to help protect the rights of the LGBT community, called the Equality Act. This bipartisan legislation would extend the same basic protections to LGBT people as are provided to other protected groups under federal law. In voicing support for this bipartisan legislation, Gap Inc. joined with the Human Right Campaign (HRC) and a coalition of 60 leading businesses to urge Congress to pass the Equality Act.
Gap Inc. agrees that the time has come to take a stand. Today, more than 70 percent of Americans support federal nondiscrimination legislation similar to the Equality Act, according to new research from the Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI). Although 33 states currently lack fully inclusive legal protections for the LGBT community, this new research finds that a clear majority supports these types of protections in all 50 states.
Equality for all — it's a concept that will always be in style.