Coke joins coalition fighting for LGBT equality

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Coke joins coalition fighting for LGBT equality

Coca-Cola is a member of the newly formed Business Coalition for the Equality Act, a group of 60 prominent employers that are officially backing the Human Rights Campaign’s efforts to add federal protections for the LGBT community.

Coke joins other notable giants such as Apple, Nike, Target, Google, Amazon, Best Buy and Coke’s beverage industry rival Pepsi in the coalition. HRC said coalition members represent 4.2 million employees, have combined revenue of $1.9 trillion and have operations in all 50 states.

Coke is one of 13 metro Atlanta companies and law firms to whom HRC gave perfect scores last year in the group’s annual ratings of company support for LGBT workers.

The Equality Act, which was introduced last July after the Supreme Court ruling that made gay marriage legal nationally, seeks to add federal protections for the LGBT community in employment, access to public spaces, housing, credit, education, jury service and federally funded programs, the HRC said. Thirty-two states do not include gays and lesbians in non-discrimination protections.

“These business leaders are showing true leadership and fighting to end a shameful status quo that leaves LGBT people at risk in a majority of states for being denied services or fired because of who they are or who they love,” HRC President Chad Griffin said in a release.

One member of the coalition, tech giant Salesforce, has been a leader locally in Georgia’s legislative fight over a “religious liberty” bill that many call discriminatory.

House Bill 757, which would allow faith-based groups to cite their sincerely held religious beliefs in declining service to couples in relationships with which they disagree, has faced concerted pushback from the business community. Salesforce leader Marc Benioff has hinted he may scale back the company’s presence in Georgia because of the legislation.

Gov. Nathan Deal has made it clear he wants sweeping changes to the proposal and has said he won’t sign anything that is discriminatory.

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