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LGBTQ-inclusive corporate board leadership bill passes Illinois General Assembly

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Last week, Equality Illinois and the LGBT Chamber of Commerce of Illinois celebrated the passage of a bill to advance diversity, equity, and inclusion on corporate boards.

State law already requires corporations based in Illinois to annually report on the race, ethnicity, and gender of their boards. SB 1730 would add gender identity and sexual orientation to the existing reporting requirement. Existing national data shows a stark lack of inclusion of LGBTQ people on corporate boards of directors. According to Out Leadership’s February 2021 report, LGBTQ people hold only 0.4% of corporate board seats.

Sponsored by Illinois Senate Deputy Majority Leader Emil Jones III (D-Chicago) and State Rep. Daniel Didech (D-Buffalo Grove), SB 1730 passed the Illinois Senate on April 21 and the Illinois House on May 20.

SB 1730 was based on efforts to enhance LGBTQ inclusion on state boards and commissions. In 2017, the General Assembly approved including LGBTQ on reports from the Governor’s Office for state boards and commissions appointments.

“We thank Leader Jones and Rep. Didech for their leadership on SB 1730,” said Brian C. Johnson, CEO of Equality Illinois. “Due to a history of stigmatization and discrimination and being forced to hide our authentic selves in workplaces and in roles of public service, LGBTQ people have been denied space at tables of power. This robs us of the opportunity to lend our strengths and talents to businesses.”

“Thank you to the Illinois General Assembly for passing this monumental legislation,” said Jerome’ Holston, executive director of the LGBT Chamber. “No longer will companies be able to hide behind impressive Pride month campaigns. Today’s decision will allow LGBTQ+ employees and consumers to know which corporations have embraced their identity where it matters the most – the corporate boardroom.”

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