Today, the House of Representatives is expected to consider the Equality Act, H.R 5. This critical legislation would combat the ongoing discrimination faced on a daily basis by lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or queer (LGBTQ) Americans. Over 70 countries have adopted anti-discrimination protections – like the Equality Act – and we urge Congress to do the same.
In many states across the county, workers are fired from their jobs or people are evicted from their homes, simply based on their sexual orientation or identity, without any recourse. In fact, more than half of all U.S. states lack protections against LGBTQ discrimination. Only 20 U.S. states and the District of Columbia have laws that prohibit discrimination based on both sexual orientation and gender identity in employment, housing and public accommodations. H.R. 5 would provide the much-needed protection for the LGBTQ community throughout the country.
The Equality Act would strengthen civil rights protections in the following ways:
Modify existing civil rights laws - including the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Fair Housing Act, the Equal Credit Opportunity Act, the Jury Selection and Services Act, and several laws regarding employment with the federal government - to extend anti-discrimination protections to LGBTQ Americans in access to employment, education, credit, jury service, federal funding, housing, and public accommodations.
It would make it explicit that federal discrimination laws prohibit discrimination based on gender stereotypes, pregnancy, gender identity and characteristics.
It would expand existing civil rights protections from discrimination in public places to include entertainment venues, places that sell goods and services, and transportation services.
More than 70 percent of Americans support passing the kinds of protections found in the Equality Act. This is a bipartisan idea with broad support and the time has come to make it law. I strongly urge you to pass H.R. 5 the Equality Act.
Leo W. Gerard