WASHINGTON, D.C. – This week’s anticipated vote on the Equality Act brings the federal government one step closer to codifying something that an overwhelming majority of Americans believe is long overdue. Discrimination against LGBTQIA+ people in employment, housing, credit, education, public spaces and services, federally funded programs and jury service must be against the law. Until all of us are equal, none of us are equal.
From Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg making history as the first openly gay Cabinet member to the nomination of Rachel Levine for assistant secretary of health, who if confirmed would become the first openly transgender federal official – this administration is demonstrating the value of the LGBTQIA+ community by placing them in some of the highest roles in government.
It’s time for Congress to step up to the plate by passing the Equality Act.
Polls show support for the Equality Act at more than 70 percent, but after passing the House in 2019, it stalled in the Republican-controlled Senate. Now, with Democrats in the majority, and the tie-breaking vote cast by Kamala Harris, who co-sponsored the bill for years, we expect a different outcome.
The Equality Act will fix a broken patchwork of current laws that haphazardly protects some people from some discrimination in some places—leaving millions of LGBTQIA+ people without protection, essential services, and access to justice.
In 29 states, Americans can still be evicted from their homes, denied service in a restaurant or a wedding cake in a bakery, or be turned down for a loan because of their gender identity. And a future administration could refuse to apply existing civil rights law to the wide range of areas where discrimination occurs, including education, housing, and health care.
NOW calls on Republicans to join House Democrats in voting for the Equality Act, and for a similar bipartisan majority to rise up in the Senate. We must repair the flaw in our legal system that perpetuates discrimination on the basis of sex, sexual orientation, and gender identity. Pass the Equality Act—NOW.