Facebook and Nike join Apple in fight for LGBT equality

A number of leading global companies have joined the fight to expand LGBT rights and protect their customer base.

Facebook, Nike, American Airlines and food giant General Mills have announced their support of proposed anti-discrimination legislation known as the Equality Act, reports TIME.

“Ensuring fairness in the workplace is a fundamental principle at Facebook and we support legal protections for LGBT Americans as outlined in the Equality Act,” said the social media company in a statement.

The Republicans currently control both Houses of Congress, and last year blocked the Employment Non-Discrimination Act – which included vital protections for LGBT workers – from coming to a vote.

However, amid building momentum on LGBT issues following the Supreme Court ruling on same-sex marriage, Democrats are hoping that the time could be right to push through new rights laws, that would prevent individuals from being denied services — including housing, jobs, mortgages and education — based on their sexuality or gender identity.

The new legislation is set to be introduced in both the Senate and House of Representatives on LGBT rights today (July 28) – for the first time since the SCOTUS marriage decision.

Facebook, Nike, American Airlines and General Mills join tech giant Apple, The Dow Chemical Company, and Levi Strauss & Co in backing the change in law.

When explaining why it was backing the bill, sports brand Nike said in a statement: “We believe that diversity drives innovation and allows us to attract and retain world class talent. We need fair and equitable laws that prevent discrimination.”

The makers of household brands Cheerios and Haagen-Dazs ice creams added: “At General Mills, we have a long history of supporting LGBT equality and the time has come in this country for full, federal equality for the LGBT community.”

“Ensuring fairness in our workplaces and communities is both the right thing to do and simply good business.”

The move is seen as many as the latest sign that opponents of gay rights are finding themselves outnumbered in both the public and corporate sector.

Although the Supreme Court recently ruled that same-sex couples have the right to get married, many LGBT people still face discrimination in their everyday lives.

More than 206 million Americans – nearly two thirds of the country – live in states where employers can fire someone simply for being gay.