Wednesday, June 21, 2023

Christopher Vasquez, NCLR Communications Director
415.365.1337 | cvasquez@nclrights.org 

If passed, historic legislation would bar discrimination against LGBTQ individuals, women, and people of color in education, employment, housing, credit, public accommodations, and other aspects of everyday life

WASHINGTON, DCToday, NCLR lauded the reintroduction of the Equality Act (S.5/H.R.15), a comprehensive federal civil rights bill that would create permanent protections for LGBTQ individuals, women, and people of color from discrimination in seven critical sectors, including housing, education, employment, programs receiving federal funding, credit, jury service, and public accommodations. The House of Representatives passed the bill in the last Congress with a bipartisan vote of 224 to 206 but the bill failed to receive a final vote in the Senate.

“Today’s reintroduction of the Equality Act in the House and Senate is a historic step towards ensuring that the LGBTQ community and our families will finally be shielded from the discrimination that so many of us have faced on a daily basis,” said Imani Rupert-Gordon, NCLR Executive Director. “This year alone, in state houses across the country, more than 650 anti-LGBTQ bills have been introduced that, among other things, ban medically necessary care for transgender youth and attempt to censor any positive mention of LGBTQ issues or people in schools. The Equality Act would fill gaps in existing federal civil rights laws and extend much-needed nondiscrimination protections in vital parts of everyday life to LGBTQ people, including the most underrepresented in our communities, for the very first time.”

“Broad nondiscrimination protections in housing, education, social services, and other areas of life included in the Equality Act are on a long list of changes needed to ensure the basic needs of low-income LGBTQ people and families are addressed,” said Tyrone Hanley, NCLR Director of Racial and Economic Justice Initiatives. “Far too often, low-income LGBTQ people and families are at the mercy of the powerful and privileged who can literally make life-or-death decisions about their lives. No one should have the power to deny others their basic needs, including on the basis of gender identity and sexual orientation. Every person deserves to have their needs met as a matter of human dignity – and the Equality Act would help ensure that for many of the most vulnerable in the United States.”

Currently, only 22 states have non-discrimination protections that fully protect LGBTQ individuals. According to the Center for American Progress, more than 30 percent of LGBTQ Americans have faced some form of discrimination within the past year, increasing to over 50 percent for transgender individuals. This discrimination causes substantial harm, creating barriers to healthcare, housing, and social services for many LGBTQ people, especially those dealing with other forms of discrimination.  

The most recent polling from the nonpartisan Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI) shows that more than 80 percent of all Americans (including a majority of Democrats, Independents, and Republicans) support comprehensive nondiscrimination protections that include LGBTQ individuals. Additionally, a report issued last week by The Williams Institute at UCLA School of Law shows that more than 70% of US adults oppose using religious beliefs as a reason to discriminate against LGBTQ people.

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The National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) is a national legal organization committed to advancing the human and civil rights of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer community through litigation, public policy advocacy, and public education. Since its founding, NCLR has maintained a longstanding commitment to racial and economic justice and the LGBTQ community’s most vulnerable. https://www.nclrights.org/