On March 14 the Equality Act — a federal civil rights law that would ban discrimination against LGBTQ people in employment, housing, public accommodations and education — was introduced by Democratic leaders in the House and Senate, including out LGBTQ Sen. Tammy Baldwin and out LGBTQ Rep. David Cicilline. All 10 openly LGBTQ members of Congress have led efforts to pass the Equality Act. The two openly LGBTQ members of the U.S. Senate are Baldwin and Kyrsten Sinema. The eight openly LGBTQ members of the U.S. Congress are Cicilline, Angie Craig, Sharice Davids, Katie Hill, Sean Patrick Maloney, Chris Pappas, Mark Pocan and Mark Takano.
The Williams Institute at the University of California, Los Angeles’ School of Law, reported that this legislation, if enacted, would protect millions of LGBTQ individuals across the country, especially workers, students and others who live in states without laws against sexual orientation and gender identity discrimination.
“The Equality Act would make crystal clear that discrimination against LGBT people is prohibited under federal law and would help to remedy the widespread harassment and discrimination that LGBT people experience at work, school, and when trying to get basic services and goods,” said Jocelyn Samuels, executive director of the Williams Institute.
The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) stated that If passed, it would prohibit discrimination based on an individual’s sexual orientation or gender identity at work, in the context of housing, credit, education and jury service. It would also prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity and sex in programs that receive federal funding and places of public accommodations.
“The harsh reality is that LGBTQ Americans still face real and persistent discrimination in their everyday lives,” said HRC President Chad Griffin. “The new pro-equality majority in Congress has the chance to finally ensure LGBTQ people’s rights are not determined by what side of a city or state line they live on. With the unprecedented backing of 70 percent of Americans, more than 280 members of Congress, 165 leading businesses and 288 organizations from across the country, now is the time to pass the bipartisan Equality Act.”
The organization is asking the community to sign on to their co-sponsor petition campaign online.