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Looking Out: Maryland companies score high marks in LGBT equality report

Workers at a Middle River facility of Lockheed Martin, one of several Maryland companies to score high marks for LGBT equality.
Workers at a Middle River facility of Lockheed Martin, one of several Maryland companies to score high marks for LGBT equality. (Photo by Elizabeth Malby)

Several companies in Maryland scored high marks for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality in the Human Rights Campaign's annual Corporate Equality Index, released this week.

Of eight companies in the state included in the study, six earned a perfect 100 percent score.

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They were Choice Hotels International Inc., DLA Piper, Lockheed Martin Corp., Marriott International Inc., Sodexo Inc. and T. Rowe Price Associates Inc.

Constellation Energy Group Inc., which owns utility Baltimore Gas & Electric Co., scored a 90 percent, having been docked 10 points for not having at least one transgender-inclusive health care coverage plan, the HRC found.

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The eighth company ranked in Maryland, Host Hotels & Resorts Inc., of Bethesda, scored a 30 percent, lacking benefits for domestic partners and trainings in LGBT inclusion in the workforce, among other factors, the HRC found.

The entire report ranks 781 companies nationwide. Of those, 366 businesses earned scores of 100 percent.

"When it comes to LGBT equality, Corporate America is a leader, not a follower," said HRC President Chad Griffin in a statement. "At every turn, from advocating for marriage equality to providing vital support for transgender employees, this country's leading companies have asked, 'What more can we do?,' and they've worked tirelessly to achieve new progress. That kind of leadership changes countless lives around this country, and sets an important example to other companies around the globe."

Still, Griffin warned, too many companies "still don't guarantee these vital workplace protections, and too many LGBT people -- transgender people in particular -- face high rates of unemployment and discrimination in hiring, keeping them from ever getting a foot in the door in the first place."

Elsewhere in LGBT news:

- The Washington Blade has a story about Blair Lee, a member of governor-elect Larry Hogan's transition team, having a history of making questionable statements about the LGBT community, including in a 2006 newspaper column in which he "appeared to compare gays to pedophiles and serial killers." You can read the column for yourself here. And some readers' responses here.

- Yesterday was Transgender Day of Remembrance, an annual reminder of the violence faced by the transgender community. It's particularly sad that here in Baltimore, two transgender women were murdered this year.

- There was more marriage movement this week in South Carolina and in Montana.

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