This bill could outlaw anti-LGBT discrimination in all 50 states
US lawmakers have introduced a bill that would create a federal Equality Act, and outlaw discrimination against LGBT people.
The Republicans currently control both Houses of Congress, and last year blocked the Employment Non-Discrimination Act – which included vital protections for LGBT workers – from coming to a vote.
However, amid building momentum on LGBT issues following the Supreme Court ruling on same-sex marriage, Democrats are hoping that the time could be right to push through new rights laws.
Deemed the Equality Act, the new LGBT rights legislation was introduced in both the Senate and House of Representatives today – for the first time since the SCOTUS marriage decision.
The bill was introduce with nearly 100 co-sponsors in the House of Representatives, and dozens in the Senate – though as of yet no Republicans have crossed party lines to support the anti-discrimination law.
Chad Griffin of the Human Rights Campaign said: “The time has come for full federal equality — nothing more, nothing less.
“”While America is now a marriage equality nation, the tragic reality is that millions of LGBT Americans face persistent discrimination in their lives each and every day.
“In most states in this country, a couple who gets married at 10 AM is at risk of being fired from their jobs by noon and evicted from their home by 2 PM, simply for posting their wedding photos online.
“Congress must pass the Equality Act to ensure that LGBT people and their families are just as safe at work or at school as they are in their marriages.
“This bill will guarantee all LGBT Americans have the clear, permanent, and explicit protections from discrimination that they deserve.”
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Jennifer C Pizer of Lambda Legal said: “We applaud the introduction of this essential bill. Today, it spotlights the pervasive, unjust, and unacceptable discrimination facing LGBT Americans and their families; when passed, it will be a crucial next step forward in ending that discrimination.
“Its introduction comes nearly one month after the Supreme Court’s historic decision in Obergefell v. Hodges that made marriage equality the law of the land and just one week after the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s (EEOC) landmark ruling [on workplace discrimination]
““We have been making tremendous, long-needed progress. An increasing number of court and agency decisions now recognize that LGBT people are protected under existing sex discrimination laws, and Lambda Legal will continue our work of many years vigorously pursuing litigation to enforce these protections.
“We will also advocate forcefully for this essential, explicit law that removes any doubt that LGBT people must be treated fairly regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.”
Tech giant Apple has also thrown its weight behind the bill.