House to vote on sweeping LGBTQ rights bill
Representative David Cicilline, DR.I., reintroduces equality law in the House of Representatives last week, with a vote on the sweeping LGBTQ rights bill expected Thursday.
This move brings the bill closer to the potential establishment of the first federal protections against discrimination for LGBTQ people. Specifically, it would ban discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in employment, housing, credit, education, public spaces, public funding and jury service.
The equality law was passed by the Democratic-controlled House in May 2019, but stagnated in the Republican-controlled Senate. Now that Democrats have taken control of the Senate, lawyers are hoping the bill will pass.
“In 2021, every American should be treated with respect and dignity,” said Cicillin, who has introduced the bill every year since 2015, said in a statement. “Yet in most states, LGBTQ people can be discriminated against because of who they are or who they love. It is high time for that to change. “
Democratic Senators Jeff Merkley of Oregon, Cory Booker of New Jersey and Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin also announced that they will reintroduce the bill in the Senate.
“We all go to work and school, come home and shop, and neither of us should have to keep family hidden or pretend to be someone we are not to do these things.” , Merkley, who wrote the Equality Act, said in a statement. “But in 29 states, Americans can still be kicked out, kicked out of restaurants, or denied a loan because of who they are or who they love.”
Before Cicillin reintroduced the bill, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., announced in a letter to my colleagues that the House would vote on the equality law this week. In May 2019, he pass by a vote of 236-173, with eight Republicans voting for her. However, then Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., never took it in the Senate.
Passage of the Equality Act in the coming months would allow President Joe Biden to fulfill one of his campaign promises of promulgate it during the first 100 days of his presidency.
In October of last year, Biden told Mark Segal, editor of Philadelphia Gay News and longtime LGBTQ rights activist, that the passage of the bill was “”essential to ensure that no future president will ever be able to override the civil rights and protections of LGBTQ + people again.
He added that he would also ask his cabinet to enforce the equality law in federal agencies. “Too many states don’t have laws that explicitly protect LGBTQ + people from discrimination,” Biden said in the interview. “It’s wrong to deny people access to services or housing because of who they are or who they love.
“A clear and coherent declaration at the national level”
The Equality Act was introduced for the first time by Rep. Bella Abzug, DN.Y., in 1974, but Bill was ultimately killed.
Cicillin introduced the current version in 2015, just after the Supreme Court ruled on same-sex marriage across the country. Unlike previous versions of the law, the current version includes protections against discrimination based on sex, sexual orientation and gender identity.
LGBTQ people across the United States currently enjoy some level of protection against discrimination through state and local laws and Biden expanding protections against discrimination at work through Supreme Court decision Bostock v. Clayton County, Georgia, last year. However, advocates say the equality law is needed to fill in the gaps and ensure that all Americans, regardless of where they live, are protected.
“While President Biden’s executive order implementing the Bostock Supreme Court ruling was a critical step in addressing discrimination against LGBTQ people, it is still essential that Congress pass the law on LGBTQ. equality to codify the Bostock decision to ensure protection in key areas of life, including existing civil rights. laws do not have gender-based protections, ”Alphonso David, president of Human Rights Campaign, the country’s largest LGBTQ rights group, said in a statement. declaration.
Kevin Jennings, CEO of LGBTQ civil rights group Lambda Legal, said the legislation would shed some light on discrimination for employers and landlords, among others.
“In some cases, individuals lose their rights and protections as they cross the border to a neighboring state, which underscores that the current patchwork of protections for LGBTQ people is inadequate,” Jennings said in a statement. “Plus, as evidenced by the thousands of phone calls we receive to our help desk each year, many employers, landlords and lenders still haven’t realized that discrimination is just plain bad, which is why we need the absolute clarity of the Equality Act, and we need it now.
Mara Keisling, executive director of the National Center for Transgender Equality, said the bill was particularly important for transgender people facing a disproportionate amount of violence.
“No act of Congress can end prejudice overnight or stop all attacks on transgender people,” Keisling said in a statement. “But the Equality Act is a clear, consistent, national statement that says our country believes that all people – including those who are transgender – should be treated fairly and with respect. For transgender people, every visit to the store, every dinner at a restaurant, every job interview or attempt to rent an apartment carries a risk of disrespect, discrimination and potentially violence. The Equality Act will allow transgender people to live their lives openly and without fear. “