More than 2,000 workers, executives, and human resources officers will convene this week in Minneapolis for a major conference on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality in the workplace.
The gathering will help companies navigate the range of laws tied to gay and lesbian issues, said Selisse Berry, executive director of Out & Equal Workplace Advocates, the San Francisco-based nonprofit sponsoring the conference.
"I think there are 14 states where we can be married and still there are 29 states where LGBT people can be fired simply for being who we are, as lesbian, gay bisexual and transgender people," Berry said. "HR professionals are throwing their hands up and pulling their hair out trying to equalize benefits across the board."
Many of the companies coming to the event are multinationals sending representatives from around the world. Some of the conference sessions will address the demands of a global workforce.
The international landscape for gay and lesbian workers is "obviously very complicated, given that we can be married in 16 countries and yet homosexuality is still illegal in 76 countries around the globe," Berry said.
Minneapolis was chosen as the site of her group's 15th annual summit before state lawmakers legalized gay marriage in Minnesota, she added.