Bill would extend protections to include housing, education, and public accommodations
Washington, D.C. — U.S. Senators Susan Collins (R-ME), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), and Cory Booker (D-NJ) led a bipartisan letter calling for the Equality Act to be brought to the Senate floor for a vote. The letter was also signed by Senator Angus King (I-ME).
The Senators’ push comes after the Supreme Court issued a 6-3 ruling to confirm that the nation’s landmark civil rights legislation preventing workplace discrimination protects LGBTQIA+ Americans.
“Although nearly two-thirds of LGBTQIA+ Americans report experiencing discrimination, existing federal law provides insufficient recourse,” the Senators wrote in their letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. “The Equality Act would provide unequivocal non-discrimination protections for people on the basis of their sexual orientation and gender identity in a number of areas, including public spaces and services, housing, education, credit, jury service, and federally funded programs, as well as explicitly codifying the Supreme Court’s holding regarding employment. By explicitly including sexual orientation and gender identity in civil rights laws, we can ensure that every person can live their life free from harassment and discrimination.”
“We have a responsibility to reaffirm the principle that harassment and discrimination are not tolerated in our country. We urge you to bring the Equality Act for a vote because all people, regardless of their sexual orientation and gender identity, should enjoy the same protections under law that all Americans already enjoy on the basis of religion, race, gender, and more,” the Senators concluded.
The Equality Act, introduced by Senators Collins, Merkley, Baldwin, and Booker last year, would add explicit protections for LGBTQIA+ Americans to the nation’s civil rights laws, ensuring that no American is evicted from their home or is denied a service based on their LGBTQIA+ status. The bill, which was passed by the U.S. House of Representatives in 2017, would clarify that just like religious, racial, or gender discrimination, anti-LGBTQIA+ discrimination is illegal everywhere in the United States of America.
The letter was also signed by Senators Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Patty Murray (D-WA), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Charles E. Schumer (D-NY), Edward J. Markey (D-MA), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Robert Casey, Jr. (D-PA), Brian Schatz (D-HI), Michael Bennet (D-CO), Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Tim Kaine (D-VA), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV), Mark Warner (D-VA), Mazie K. Hirono (D-HI), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Jacky Rosen (D-NV), Robert Menendez (D-NJ), Maggie Hassan (D-NH), Tom Carper (D-DE), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Kamala Harris (D-CA), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Ben Cardin (D-MD), Tina Smith (D-MN), Martin Heinrich (D-NM), Gary Peters (D-MI), Chris Coons (D-DE), Tom Udall (D-NM), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Chris Murphy (D-CT), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Jon Tester (D-MT), Jack Reed (D-RI), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Doug Jones (D-AL), Joe Manchin (D-WV), and Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ).
Click HERE to read the full letter.