LGBTQ-inclusive corporate board leadership bill signed into law

The Illinois State Capitol in Springfield. Photo by Tom Wray

Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker signed SB 1730 into law on Monday. The bill add self-identified gender identity and sexual orientation to the existing annual reporting requirement.

Equality Illinois said that state law already requires corporations to annually report out on the race, ethnicity, and gender of their boards of directors.

“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,” said Brian Johnson, CEO of Equality Illinois, in a press release. “This robs us of the opportunity to lend our strengths and talents to businesses.

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, of the 5,670 board seats in the Fortune 500, only 25 seats (0.4%) are held by out LGBTQ+ people, and some of those seats are held by the same individuals. We also know how diverse leadership can foster workplace cultures of inclusion and advance affirming policies for workers throughout an organization or business.”

“No longer will companies be able to hide behind impressive Pride month campaigns,” said Jerome’ Holston, executive director of the LGBT Chamber of Commerce of Illinois. “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.”

Equality Illinois and the chamber were supporters of the bill.

Sponsored by Illinois Senate Deputy Majority Leader Emil Jones III (D-Chicago) and State Rep. Daniel Didech (D-Buffalo Grove), SB 1730 passed the General Assembly this past spring. The bill is a follow up to past bills that require LGBTQ inclusion on state board and commission appointments.

The law goes into effect on Jan. 1, 2022.