These companies want LGBT discrimination banned

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NEW YORK — The fight for LGBT rights isn’t over, and major U.S. companies are rallying around the cause.

While June’s Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex marriage was a huge win, the LGBT community can still be legally discriminated against in much of the country.

In 28 states, they can legally be fired, evicted from their apartments by landlords, denied a hotel room and denied a loan.

Corporate America has been leading the fight for marriage equality for years. They have filed legal briefs with the court, lobbied state officials, and — perhaps most powerfully — ramped up benefits and protections for their own LGBT employees.

Now, some major companies are throwing their support behind the Equality Act, a bill that would protect the LGBT community from discrimination under federal law.

Tech giants IBM, Oracle, Orbitz and Symantec joined a growing coalition of businesses supporting the legislation Thursday.

“We believe having a diversity of perspectives ensures we make better business decisions and the products and services we offer meet the needs of the broad spectrum of people we serve worldwide, which is why we couldn’t be more proud to support the expansion of legal protections,” Symantec said in a statement.

American Airlines, Apple, Dow Chemical, Facebook, General Mills, Google, Levi, and Microsoft had already issued statements in support of the legislation.

These companies have had policies in place for years that ensure workplace equality for LGBT people within their own companies — earning each of them a perfect score on the Human Rights Campaign’s corporate equality index.

The Equality Act was introduced in Congress on July 23 by 40 members of the Senate and 158 House Representatives. It since has been moved to a committee for review.

Some gay rights advocates say that the June Supreme Court decision that legalized same-sex marriage nationwide makes it even more important to pass federal protections against LGBT discrimination.

“In most states in this country, a [LGBT] couple who gets married at 10 a.m. is at risk of being fired from their jobs by noon and evicted from their home by 2 p.m., simply for posting their wedding photos online,” said Chad Griffin, the president of the Human Rights Campaign.

By Katie Lobosco