More than 400 U.S. corporations have signed on to the Business Coalition For The Equality Act, signaling their support for the controversial legislation designed to expand regulations regarding LGBTQ+ issues. While this number is touted as a “major swath of America’s economic engine” by LGBTQ+ activist group HRC which sponsors the coalition, in light of the roughly 6,000 publicly traded companies on the New York Stock Exchange and NASDAQ, plus the 11,500 additional companies that trade on over-the-counter markets, 400 is actually a rather slim 2.5% slice of the American business landscape.
To put it another way, 97.5% of American publicly traded businesses do not endorse the Equality Act. This begs the question, why not?
The reason is because the so-called “Equality” Act is anything but, and conscientious companies know it. The “Equality” Act has been described by conservative LGBTQ+ commentators as a bill that “eviscerates freedom of conscience and tramples over the basic constitutional rights of religious Americans”, and that it “goes too far for any level-headed gay rights advocate to support.” Even Tennis star and lesbian activist, Martina Navratilova, has gone on record with her concerns over the far-reaching effects of the “Equality” Act in women’s sports, “The reality” she writes, “is that putting male- and female-bodied athletes together is co-ed or open sport. And in open sport, females lose.”
The “Equality” Act would eviscerate Title IX protections for female athletes. It cancels by name specific provisions of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993, putting religious employers such as churches and private religious schools, hospitals, adoption agencies and others at severe risk of lawsuits. State-level bills similar to the “Equality” Act have also demonstrated the danger this legislation poses, such as male-bodied transgender felons being transferred to female prisons to share cells with female inmates, with damaging consequences.
As CEO of a faith-based investing firm, I talk to a lot of corporate executives to share the viewpoints and concerns of our biblically responsible investors. Based on my conversations with leaders of companies listed on the Business Coalition For The Equality Act, I believe what they are endorsing is the name of the “Equality” Act but not the content. They want to be known for supporting “Equality”, but it is highly questionable whether they understand what the “Act” would actually do.
I am not the only one with this experience. Attorneys from The National Center for Public Policy’s Free Enterprise Project recently questioned numerous CEO’s during quarterly shareholder meetings regarding their companies’ support of the “Equality” Act: “Based on the responses we have received, it’s clear that many of these companies have no idea what they are supporting”, stated Justin Danhoff, Esq., General Counsel for National Center’s Free Enterprise Project. “The Equality Act would cancel certain federal religious liberty protections and would also be highly detrimental to women and girls in multiple settings such as sports and shelters.”
Equality should be for all people, including female athletes who want an equal playing field when they compete, people of faith who have moral convictions about heterosexuality and female prison inmates who should not be forced to share a cell with violent felons convicted for preying upon women. And yes, equality should be for LGBTQ+ persons who deserve safe places to work and access to the same opportunities as other Americans, but without trampling the rights and constitutional protections of others.
The “Equality” Act does not promote equality, it would institutionalize intolerance and inequity for millions of Americans, especially women and people of faith. Christian investors can find out if the companies in their mutual funds and other investments are supporters of the Equality Act for free at Inspire Insight and are encouraged to take action to contact investor relations and tell corporations to abandon their support of the so-called “Equality” Act and instead embrace a more inclusive approach to ensuring equality in their businesses.
Get the latest cutting edge thought leadership and research on impact investing, biblically responsible investing (BRI) and the value of biblical principles in business and life.