LGBT Consumers and Public Accommodation Laws

Educating Business on Public Accommodation Laws
and the LGBT Community

CHICAGO (October 6, 2015) – Anti-discrimination laws protecting LGBT Illinoisans have been part of the civil rights fabric of the state for a decade. Yet, as recent cases have demonstrated, not all Illinois businesses are aware of the rules or try to ignore them.

This week, Equality Illinois, the state’s oldest and largest advocacy organization for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Illinoisans, is hosting a forum and training seminar on public accommodation laws for Illinois businesses to help them build inclusive companies that benefit them, their staffs, and the customers they serve. The presenting partner of this project is the law firm of Seyfarth Shaw LLP.

“Two recent cases before the Illinois Human Rights Commission demonstrate that not all Illinois businesses understand or care to follow the law–in place for a decade–regarding full public access for LGBT people,” said Bernard Cherkasov, CEO of Equality Illinois.

“In the national dialogue, there also seems to be some attitude that citing religious objections frees a business or public official from the law and allows them to discriminate. We want to make it clear that here in Illinois, LGBT people have been covered by the Illinois Human Rights Act since 2005 and religious objections are not a Get Out of Jail card.”

The free, one-hour session this Thursday, Oct. 8 at 8:30 am is in the Hilton Chicago Marquette Room (720 S. Michigan, 3rd floor). Registration for the event can be done at The session is geared at corporate decision makers, community affairs and HR professionals, local-to-national level business executives and lawyers.

The forum on the public accommodation laws is one of a series of Corporate Social Responsibility Trainings that Equality Illinois and Seyfarth Shaw have been conducting since this summer. More information and registration for future sessions can be found at All the sessions are free, but advanced registration is required.”Businesses need to take affirmative steps to create an inclusive and supportive community – both within the workplace and for their customers,” Cherkasov said. “Equality Illinois is dedicated to supporting the efforts of companies to understand and implement these laws and workplace best practices.”

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