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Detroit  — A civil rights group said Monday more than 100 American businesses have joined its coalition to get a federal law passed that bans discrimination based on sex, sexual orientation, and gender identity.

The Human Rights Campaign, the nation's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) civil rights group, launched the alliance, the Business Coalition for the Equality Act, in March 2016.  

"This is a crucial milestone for landmark civil rights legislation in our community," said Chad Griffin, the Human Rights Campaign's president. "These are the job creators, the economic engines in our cities and our states. They're all speaking with a unified voice in calling for the passage of the Equality Act."

Griffin made the announcement during a news conference held at the Detroit Regional Chamber offices in downtown Detroit. Based in Washington D.C., the Human Rights Campaign works to achieve equality for LGBTQ Americans.

Griffin was joined at the news conference by Kevin Heard, president of the Detroit LGBT Chamber of Commerce; Willard McCloud, chief diversity officer of Cargill Inc.; Cory Valente, LGBT ERG Global Leader for Dow Chemical Co.; and Stephanie White, executive director of Equality Michigan.

Griffin said a total of 105 corporations have joined the alliance and support passage of the Equality Act. He said the companies have revenues of $2.6 trillion and employ 5.8 million across the country.

The most recent 10 companies that have joined are Whirlpool Corp., Paul Hastings LLP, Hughs Hubbard & Reed LLP, Under Armour, Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company, Navigant Consulting Inc., Ascena Retail Group Inc., Boston Scientific Corp., Synchrony Financial and Macy's Inc. 

"Supporting inclusion and equality is the right thing to do, both for business and for society," said Valente. "Today, we stand with these major businesses that are committed to doing what is right for their companies and for their communities."

Dow was among the first companies to join the coalition.

Introduced in Congress in July 2015, the Equality Act is intended to amend the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to include sex, sexual orientation, and gender identity among the prohibited categories of discrimination or segregation in places of public accommodation. No action has been taken on the bill, which is currently co-sponsored by 241 members of Congress.

"I look forward to the day when enough elected officials catch up to the visionary corporate leaders to finally end discrimination against gay and transgender people," said White. "That will be a good day for Michigan and a good day for America."

cramirez@detroitnews.com

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