National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC) Condemns Proposed Anti-LGBT “Religious Freedom” Executive Order as Destructive to the American Economy and its Citizens
May 3, 2017
Washington, DC – The National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce, the business voice of the LGBT community, vehemently opposes any move by the Trump Administration to sign an anti-LGBT Executive Order and pledges to work for it to be repealed and/or rejected by the courts should it be signed. The draft order is not just a state-sanctioned and taxpayer-funded attack on LGBT Americans, but also on women’s access to healthcare, individuals with disabilities, and other vulnerable communities. America's 1.4 million LGBT business owners, as well as the millions of allies who support them, must know that they can petition their state and federal government when they experience discrimination - something these actions would explicitly prohibit in the name of so-called ‘religious freedom.’
At a rally in front of the White House today, NGLCC President and Co-Founder Justin Nelson pointed to the NGLCC’s “America’s LGBT Economy” report showing the $1.7 trillion and millions of jobs that LGBT-owned businesses add to the U.S. economy. The U.S. economy succeeds only when there is a fully engaged and protected citizenry, workforce, and supply chain, free from fear of discrimination. NGLCC sees this Executive Order allowing religious exemptions to discriminate as a desperate and callous backlash against the success of marriage equality and other recent advances for the LGBT community throughout the country.
The more than $500 million in lost revenues and opportunities in North Carolina, for example, will be a drop in the bucket against the total tax revenue, industry growth, and innovation lost in places that use taxpayer dollars to discriminate against fellow red-blooded, tax-paying Americans.
"This shameful act doesn't protect anyone, in fact it creates the potential for greater discrimination against already vulnerable communities. NGLCC and its partners advocate for sound business policy and conditions conducive to economic growth. At a time when our nation's leaders are focused on ways to get more people to work, we should not be creating new ways to fire -- or new ways to refuse to hire and disrespect -- Americans who contribute so powerfully to our economy," said NGLCC Co-Founder & President Justin Nelson. "LGBT inclusion is associated with higher levels of entrepreneurship and is linked to GDP growth, whereas LGBT discrimination goes hand-in-hand with a decline in productivity and success. We decry this effort to roll back the clock on current protections for LGBT Americans, especially by an administration of self-proclaimed ‘business experts’ who should know the economic benefits of inclusion.”
Using taxpayer dollars, public officials and religious institutions are now legally protected should they decide to not recognize the legality of same-sex marriages; refuse to place children with qualified, deserving LGBT families; prevent transgender Americans from changing gender markers on government documents; and deny housing and public services to anyone, even if the institution receives grants and subsidies from the government.
“If this government truly wants our economy to grow, they must concern themselves with the health of our businesses, not our bedrooms and bathrooms. NGLCC and its partners encourage our constituents and stakeholders to publicly fight these policies and ensure America is safe and open for business for all,” said NGLCC Co-Founder & CEO Chance Mitchell. “Laws allowing religious exemptions to discriminate are a desperate and callous backlash against the success of marriage equality and other advances for the LGBT community. Public opinion echoes the court’s sentiment that equality is essential for American progress, particularly in business.”
NGLCC previously organized support and calls for actions by the corporate sector and LGBT-owned businesses in reaction to similar anti-LGBT actions in North Carolina, Georgia, Texas, Indiana, and more.
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The National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce is the business voice of the LGBT community and is the largest global advocacy organization specifically dedicated to expanding economic opportunities and advancements for LGBT people. NGLCC represents the interests of America’s 1.4 million LGBT business owners and is the exclusive certification body for LGBT Business Enterprises (LGBTBEs).
Jonathan D. Lovitz
Senior Vice President