STATEMENT: CAP President Neera Tanden on the Introduction of Historic Comprehensive LGBT Nondiscrimination Legislation
Washington, D.C. — Center for American Progress President Neera Tanden issued the following statement today in support of the introduction of federal comprehensive nondiscrimination protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender, or LGBT, Americans. The Equality Act, introduced today by U.S. Sens. Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Cory Booker (D-NJ), and Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) and U.S. Rep. David Cicilline (D-RI) would provide protections from discrimination for LGBT Americans in all aspects of life, including housing, employment, public accommodations, credit, and education.
This historic legislation would provide clear and vital protections from discrimination for LGBT Americans in all areas of life, from the workplace to the public marketplace. Despite last month’s historic Supreme Court decision, many LGBT people and their families live in constant fear that discrimination could lurk around any corner at school, in the office, or on Main Street. Modernizing our federal nondiscrimination laws to include sexual orientation, gender identity, and, where currently excluded, sex, will bring our laws into the 21st century and ensure that all Americans, including our LGBT friends and neighbors, are judged on their merits, can provide for their families, and live free from fear. The progressive cause in our country has always been about ensuring people can live free of fear regardless of who they are. This bill promises to be a major priority for the LGBT movement and broader progressive community moving forward, and CAP applauds Sens. Merkley, Booker, and Baldwin and Rep. Cicilline for their leadership on behalf of all Americans.
Last year, the Center for American Progress called for introduction of such an act in the wide-ranging report “We The People: Why Congress and the U.S. States Must Pass Comprehensive LGBT Nondiscrimination Protections.” The report, which remains the most in-depth and thorough examination of discrimination faced by LGBT Americans throughout daily life, reviews data and evidence showing that:
- One in 10 lesbian, gay, and bisexual workers report being fired because of their sexual orientation, while one in four transgender workers reported being fired because of their gender identity.
- Nearly one in three transgender Americans reported being denied equal treatment in a retail store.
- One in four same-sex couples experienced discrimination when trying to buy a home, according to one study.
- More than half of LGBT K-12 students reported feeling unsafe at school as a result of their sexual orientation, and more than one-third reported feeling unsafe because of how they express their gender.
- Fact sheets on current protections, examples of discrimination against LGBT Americans, and policy recommendations affecting major areas of life: employment, housing, public accommodations, credit, and education.
- A video, the first in a series of stories documenting the discrimination faced by LGBT Americans, tells the story of Jami and Krista Contreras, whose then-six-day-old daughter, Bay, was denied the care of a hand-selected pediatrician simply because the little girl had two moms
- Polling by the Center for American Progress, Small Business Majority, and the American Unity Fund, which shows overwhelming support among small business owners for employment and public accommodations protections, as well as significant opposition to utilizing religion to discriminate against LGBT workers and customers
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