The pharmacy/drug store chain is the latest corporate backer of Congressman David Cicilline’s Equality Act bill that would extend Civil Rights protections to gay, lesbian and transgender Americans.
“As a leading health care company, we are proud to endorse the Equality Act and stand with Congressman Cicilline in this effort,” said David Casey, a vice president at CVS Health.
“We have long supported efforts to improve the lives of LGBT Americans by advocating for equal rights and embracing the rich diversity of our colleagues, customers and suppliers,” Casey said. “It is part of our culture to make every individual feel equally valued, respected and appreciated. We will continue to advance our efforts to promote a diverse workforce and recognize that a workplace that embraces diversity and inclusion is good for business, helps attract and retain talent and enables us to fulfill our purpose of helping all people on their path to better health.”
CVS joins 60 other of America’s biggest companies in supporting the legislation. The companies include: Google, Facebook, Twitter, Airbnb, Coca-Cola, Hewlitt-Packart, IBM, Nike and Monsanto, according to a list provided by Cicilline.
“The companies backing the Equality Act have operations in all 50 states, bring in a combined $1.9 trillion in revenue, and provide 4.2 million jobs in the United States,” said Cicilline spokesman Richard Luchette. “They are providing critical leadership to help expand support for the Equality Act and build momentum to ensure that LGBT Americans can enjoy the same rights and opportunities as everyone else.”
Cicilline introduced the Equality Act in July. It’s intended to extend Civil Rights protections to LGBTQ Americans by explicitly outlawing discrimination in public accommodations, housing, employment and federal funding. In more than half of the states it is legal to discriminate against someone based on their sexual orientation, and deny them services, employment, or housing.
Nothing would change at CVS if and when the Equality Act becomes law, said company spokesman Joseph Goode.
“From a CVS Health ‘workplace’ perspective, the Equality Act wouldn’t change anything. In fact, our employee values, policies and benefits are quite ahead of the curve when it comes to supporting LGBT equality,” he said. “There is, however, a ‘community’ upside to the Equality Act for our LGBT employees as the legislation aims to extend anti-discrimination protections to LGBT individuals in public accommodations, such as housing, employment, federal funding, education, credit, etc.”
CVS made international news and won the praise of First Lady Michelle Obama when it announced in 2014 it would stop selling tobacco products. Today CVS also announced it would invest $50 million in an anti-smoking ad campaign, according to Fortune. In November, the Human Rights Campaign Foundation gave CVS a perfect score on its Equality Index for the second year in a row in 2015. CVS offers employees “health insurance coverage for the medically necessary health care services that transgender people need, including transition-related treatment,” according to a news release.
“Today, in most states, an LGBT person can get married on Saturday, post photos of their wedding on Sunday, and then get fired from their job or thrown out of their apartment on Monday just because of who they are,” said Cicilline. “This is completely wrong. Fairness and equality are core American values, and it’s time we affirm these values by passing the Equality Act into law. I want to thank CVS Health, one of Rhode Island’s leading job creators, for standing with us in this fight today.”