Washington, D.C. — Today, a bipartisan group of lawmakers in the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Equality Act, a landmark piece of legislation that would amend the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Fair Housing Act, and other federal civil rights laws to extend protections to all Americans on the basis of gender identity and sexual orientation and to update protections for women, communities of color, and people of faith.
The Equality Act would finally provide LGBTQ Americans with the same equal rights and dignity afforded their neighbors and would protect them from all forms of unlawful discrimination in every state. Unlike the bill’s first passage in 2019, we now have a pro-equality Senate majority and President Joe Biden has already indicated his strong commitment to signing this legislation into law. The House’s passage of the Equality Act is a critical first step; now, we need the Senate to ensure that LGBTQ people are treated fairly under the law.
In response to the Equality Act’s passage in the House, Winnie Stachelberg, executive vice president for External Affairs at the Center for American Progress, released the following statement.
For far too long, LGBTQ Americans have staked their lives and livelihoods to the whims of federal courts and executive actions. The toll on LGBTQ lives has been dire, with 1 in 3 LGBTQ people reporting they have experienced discrimination in the past year. The Equality Act will finally ensure that all Americans can live freely and openly as themselves, without fear of discrimination in key aspects of daily life, from renting an apartment to seeking medical care to buying food at the grocery store.
The protections provided by the Equality Act are supported by more than 80 percent of the public, and the bill is supported by more than 100 religious organizations. Today’s bipartisan vote is just another demonstration that legislation is long overdue.
The ongoing pandemic has exposed and exacerbated the inequities that LGBTQ Americans have endured for decades. The continued absence of federal protections threatens to forestall economic recovery and delay the rollout of vaccines for millions of LGBTQ Americans who defer or altogether avoid medical care for fear of discrimination. The Senate must send the bill to President Biden’s desk for his signature as soon as possible.
For more information on the Equality Act or to speak with an expert, please contact Adam Peck at gro.ssergorpnacirema@kcepa.