February 25, 2021

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

If passed in Senate and signed into law, 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, DC – Today, on a bipartisan vote of 224-206, the United States House of Representatives passed the Equality Act (H.R. 5), 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 healthcare, housing, education, employment, federal funding, housing, and public accommodations.

“Today’s bipartisan passage of the Equality Act is the result of decades of hard-fought activism by women, people of color, and the LGBTQ community – particularly transgender individuals of color – to ensure that no American faces discrimination based on their sex, gender, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, or gender identity. The historic vote today also builds upon the legacy of the activists who helped pass the original Civil Rights Act in 1964.

While today is a day of celebration for this momentous accomplishment, it is also a reminder that there is much work that must be done to ensure the Equality Act is passed swiftly in the United States Senate and signed into law by President Joe Biden. While the fight for full legal equality continues, NCLR is heartened to once again see the Equality Act progress in the halls of Congress.”

NCLR Executive Director Imani Rupert-Gordon

Currently, only 22 states have non-discrimination protections that fully protect LGBTQ individuals. According to the Center for American Progress, more than 1 in 3 LGBTQ Americans have reported facing some form of discrimination within the past year, with the number increasing to 3 in 5 for transgender individuals. This discrimination often causes substantial harm to the psychological and economic wellbeing of the LGBTQ community and creates undue difficulties for many LGBTQ people in accessing medically necessary healthcare – most dramatically for the transgender population and people of color.

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. FiveThirtyEight has also similarly found that President Biden’s executive order mandating that federal agencies implement the Supreme Court’s ruling in Bostock v. Clayton County in nondiscrimination policies was the most popular of his early executive actions, with the support of an overwhelming 83% of Americans.

More than 600 national, state, and local organizations have signed on to urge the swift passage of the Equality Act, in addition to a broad coalition of faith-based groups and 335 major corporations, showing the breadth of support the legislation has maintained since its passage in the House in 2019.

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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