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Major Lobbying Group Rallies Atlanta Businesses For LGBT Fight

IMAGE DISTRIBUTED FOR HUMAN RIGHTS CAMPAIGN - Robin Joy Shahar of the Atlanta mayor’s office, speaks during the Human Rights Campaign release of results of their annual LGBT Corporate Equality Index, Wednesday, Nov. 18, 2015, in Atlanta. (John Amis/AP Images for Human Rights Campaign)
IMAGE DISTRIBUTED FOR HUMAN RIGHTS CAMPAIGN - Robin Joy Shahar of the Atlanta mayor’s office, speaks during the Human Rights Campaign release of results of their annual LGBT Corporate Equality Index, Wednesday, Nov. 18, 2015, in Atlanta. (John Amis/AP Images for Human Rights Campaign)
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A major international LGBT lobbying group, the Human Rights Campaign Foundation, chose Atlanta to launch a new campaign for workplace equality Wednesday.

Chad Griffin, president of the foundation, said major corporations, including Delta and Georgia Power, which had representatives at the event, support lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality, but there’s more work to be done. 

“These battles are going to continue at the state level. They’re going to continue. What you have seen in this Legislature and others, we’re going to see again,” he said. “After the marriage victory, our opponents have regrouped and they’re doubling down and this is where they’re headed.”

Critics of a religious freedom bill pending in the Georgia Legislature say it would lead to discrimination against LGBT individuals.

Its supporters deny those claims, and say they hope to pass the bill next year.

Greg Tahvonen, a vice president at Delta in the Human Resources Department, said: “I don’t think it’s a good mark on Atlanta. I don’t think it’s a good mark for any major employer in Atlanta to be seen as a community that is not LGBT-friendly. Both from an employee perspective, but, most importantly, from a consumer perspective.” 

A representative from the Human Rights Campaign who was at the gathering said the foundation chose Atlanta because so many corporations here were at the top of the foundation’s 2016 Corporate Equality Index and because of the recent controversy in the Georgia Legislature over the religious freedom bill.

The Human Rights Campaign officially released the results of the Corporate Equality Index at Wednesday’s event in Atlanta.