(San Francisco, CA, October 6, 2016)—Today, the National Center for Lesbian Rights launched a new campaign—Support the Equality Act—urging municipal and state leaders across the country to enact resolutions pressing Congress to pass the federal Equality Act.
While the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) community has experienced landmark victories over the last year, including the historic U.S. Supreme Court marriage equality decision, we still do not have comprehensive and specific anti-discrimination protections for LGBTQ people under federal law or in 32 states.
In several states—including North Carolina and Mississippi—extreme anti-LGBTQ lawmakers have mounted unprecedented attacks on LGBTQ people in an attempt to set back the movement for LGBTQ equality. More than 200 bills that seek to legalize discrimination against LGBTQ individuals were considered this year in states across the country.
Introduced last year, the Equality Act would amend federal civil rights laws to reflect that federal sex discrimination laws bar anti-LGBTQ discrimination, as many courts have held, and to create nationwide protections against sex discrimination in public accommodations.
“By urging our local and state leaders to press Congress to pass the Equality Act, we can help end discrimination against LGBTQ people and create an environment where all are treated with dignity and respect for who they are,” said NCLR Executive Director Kate Kendell. “NCLR is ready and eager to work with elected officials, community activists, and our sister organizations to do the work on the ground that is necessary to pass this law and ensure that LGBTQ people are fully included and protected under federal law.”
Following the June 12th shooting at an Orlando LGBTQ nightclub that left 49 people dead and more than 50 others seriously injured, Palm Springs became the first city in the country to pass a resolution supporting the Equality Act. Introduced by NCLR Government Policy Director and Palm Springs City Councilmember Geoff Kors, the resolution says that LGBTQ people “have a right to live free from discrimination in the core aspects of their lives” and calls on Congress “to ensure that federal civil rights laws are fully inclusive.” In August, the California legislature passed a similar resolution—introduced by Assemblymember David Chiu—supporting the Equality Act.
“As we have tragically seen time and time again, legalized discrimination sends the dangerous message that LGBTQ people are not as worthy of protection as non-LGBTQ people, which can lead to hate and violence,” said Kors. “We need cities and states throughout the nation to take action in order to push Congress to vote on the Equality Act and send it to the President’s desk.”
NCLR’s campaign includes a toolkit—consisting of links to find elected officials’ contact information, sample letters, sample resolution language, and social networking tools—for the public to use to reach their municipal and state leaders and raise awareness about the need for legal protections for the LGBTQ community.
Learn more at www.NCLRights.org/SupportEquality