Detroit — Plastics industry giant DowDuPont Inc. is among more than 100 businesses supporting the federal Equality Act, the Human Rights Campaign announced Sept. 25 at the Detroit Regional Chamber.
The company, with headquarters in Midland, Mich., and Wilmington, Del. — formed by the merger of Dow Chemical Co. and DuPont Co. — had previously signed on to sponsor the Washington-based LGBT rights organization's Business Coalition for the Equality Act.
Other businesses signed on to the effort include plastics-related companies and major customers of plastics processors including Whirlpool Corp., Unilever, Procter & Gamble Co., Johnson & Johnson and Hewlett Packard Enterprises.
Lawmakers reintroduced the anti-discrimination bill in May with 241 congressional co-sponsors after first introducing it in 2015.
The legislation would add language to existing civil rights laws to prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in public places, federal government employment, housing, education, credit and jury service, according to HRC's website.
HRC officially began its campaign to recruit companies that support the Equality Act in March 2016, but some including Dow joined back when the bill was first introduced, said Deena Fidas, director of the nonprofit's workplace equality program.
The Sept. 25 event commemorates the business coalition passing the 100-company mark.
"What is so significant about today's announcement is that in just two years, we've already [signed on)] the number of businesses it used to take us a half decade to build toward," Fidas said.
The high brand recognition and international presence of the signatories make them a "significant" addition to the coalition, Fidas said.
"You have some real leadership from Whirlpool and Dow and Kellogg [Co.], in terms of comprehensively addressing the needs of LGBT workers within their four walls ... you're also seeing a groundswell of support from these businesses for LGBT equality in the public square," she said, adding that many Fortune 500 companies have made substantial progress in recent years protecting LGBT workers' rights.
"I think that within this current political environment ... we will continue to need Michigan businesses to stand up for equality," she said.
Thirty-one states lack at least some of the Equality Act's proposed protections, according to the release. One of them is Michigan.