“The introduction of the Equality Act today by Senators Jeff Merkley (D – Ore.), Tammy Baldwin (D – Wis.) and Cory Booker (D – N.J.) and Representative David Cicilline (D – R.I.) marks a historic moment in our nation’s march toward full equality. For too long, discrimination has been allowed in our nation’s workplaces, public spaces, schools, housing and elsewhere due to exclusions in our nation’s civil rights laws. This bill would help change that and benefit women, LGBT people and our nation tremendously. It is past time.
The Equality Act would extend critical civil rights protections to millions of women and LGBT people in this country, too many of whom suffer blatant discrimination simply because of their sex, sexual orientation or gender identity. It is especially appalling that, with marriage equality finally the law of the land, individuals can still be fired or denied housing because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. And it is outrageous that women are still refused equal protection in public spaces and federally funded programs, despite having had equal employment protections in place for 50 years. The country can – and must – do better.
By amending existing federal civil rights laws to prohibit discrimination on the basis of sex, sexual orientation and gender identity in public accommodations and in federally funded programs or activities, the Equality Act would establish long overdue protections for women and LGBT people. It would also amend existing laws to prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity in education, employment, housing, credit, and federal jury service. This is a hugely significant step toward eradicating the discrimination suffered by LGBT people and their families.
The National Partnership commends the members of Congress who are pushing for equal rights for all by introducing and championing this bill. It is a critically important proposal that should be a priority for every lawmaker who supports equal rights and opportunities. When inequality, bias and discrimination are allowed to continue, they do grave harm to our families and communities, our society, and our nation’s quest for truly equal opportunity. No one should experience or have to worry about discrimination based on sex, sexual orientation or gender identity. We will all be better off when the Equality Act becomes law.”