On Monday, we learned of a long-sought victory for LGBTQ employees. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in a 6 – 3 decision that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 forbids discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and transgender status. Title VII covers employees in workplaces with 15 or more employees. In every state across the country, it is now unlawful to fire someone just for being LGBTQ. Other types of anti-LGBTQ workplace discrimination, like harassment and failure to hire, are also illegal.
Diversity, equity, and inclusion have been long-standing priorities for the Chamber. For the past 125 years, the San Antonio Chamber of Commerce has championed programs and policies that cultivate, attract, and retain a diverse and skilled workforce. We have also been front and center when anti-discriminatory protections were threatened.
Over the past few years, we have actively advocated to get where we are today and ensure we remain open for business to everyone. In 2013, your Chamber adopted a position statement in support of the City of San Antonio’s proposed Non-Discrimination Ordinance, which directed City staff to update hiring practices to protect people based on their gender identity, sexual orientation and veteran status. The statement read:
The Greater San Antonio Chamber of Commerce supports non-discrimination policies that protect individuals from discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, age or disability. We also believe that protections should include individuals who may be discriminated against for their sexual orientation, gender identity or veteran status; therefore, The Chamber supports the City of San Antonio’s proposed Non-Discrimination Ordinance.
In 2017, during the Texas 85th Legislative Session, your Chamber led efforts to oppose the discriminatory “bathroom bill,” which would have required transgender people to use bathrooms in public schools, government buildings, and public universities based on biological sex. The measure would have preempted local nondiscrimination ordinances that allow transgender Texans to use the bathroom that corresponds with their gender identity. In collaboration with Texas Association of Business, the Metro 8 Chambers of Commerce, Visit San Antonio, Bexar County, and the City of San Antonio, your Chamber was successful in defeating this discriminatory legislation.
The San Antonio Chamber of Commerce opposes any law, statue, ordinance or rule that weakens our community’s private or public sector’s ability to attract talent and private investment or in any way limits San Antonio’s identity as a welcoming destination to visit, live and work. Policies that discriminate against individuals or groups are not in keeping with the long history of inclusion that has been San Antonio’s promise and hampers Texas’ ability to compete in the global marketplace.
We applaud the U.S. Supreme Court for their landmark decision. This is a monumental step forward to promoting diversity, equity and inclusion throughout the country.
For more information, please contact Stephanie Reyes, VP of Public Policy at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 210-299-2162.