The House of Representatives passed the Equality Act last May, but the Senate has let it sit in committee for more than a year. The bill would codify critical civil rights protections for LGBTQ Americans by prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity in areas such as housing, credit, education, federally-funded programs, and jury service.
With the recent ruling on employment discrimination by the Supreme Court in Bostock v. Clayton County, the momentum for change is with us. Now is the time to tell your Senators to take action on this critical bill and pass it into law.
There is currently no federal law that specifically protects members of the LGBTQ community from discrimination. In fact, 31 states do not include sexual orientation and gender identity in their civil rights statutes, and there are still major gaps in our federal nondiscrimination laws that would be closed by the Equality Act. The harsh reality is that many LGBTQ people face harassment and mistreatment in their daily lives, including outside of work. Additionally, LGBTQ people of color—particularly Black transgender women—face even higher rates of discrimination and, too often, violence.
The act also ensures that the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) cannot be used as an excuse to disregard discrimination laws. Religious exemptions would be harmful and undermine the civil rights of LGBTQ citizens.
The Equality Act is long overdue. It’s time for Congress to take a bold and decisive stand for LGBTQ Americans. Urge your representatives to support the Equality Act today!