The Democrats will prioritise an LGBT anti-discrimination law if the party regains control of Congress.
According to the Washington Blade, Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi confirmed that the long-neglected LGBT Equality Act was legislation she “really [wants] to do” in the next term of Congress.
There are currently no federal-level protections against discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity in the US. This means that it is legal to fire people for being gay in dozens of states due to patchy state-level protections.
A spokesperson for Pelosi confirmed that the Democrats would head a major push on the Equality Act in the House of Representatives if the party wins a majority in November’s midterm elections.
The spokesperson told the Blade: “In the House, the majority will signal a piece of legislation is a top priority by assigning it a bill number between 1 and 10.
“Leader Pelosi has decided the Equality Act will get one of these priority bill numbers, indicating its importance to House Democrats.”
Under the plan the bill would come forward “early in the year” in 2019, the Washington Blade reports.
Republicans in Congress have blocked both the Equality Act and its predecessor, the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), since the bill was first put forward in 1994.
The bill would amend the 1964 Civil Rights Act provisions which outlaw discrimination in employment and public accommodations based on race, to add sexual orientation and gender identity.
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Polling in 2016 found that 69 percent of voters – including 55 percent of Trump voters – support the Equality Act.
Despite the views of the electorate, Republicans in Congress are overwhelmingly opposed to the legislation.
Just three Republicans co-sponsored a previous version of the bill, which had 240 total co-sponsors.
In contrast, 90 of America’s most influential corporations have backed the law, including Unilever, Coca-Cola and Google.
A Democratic National Committee spokesperson said previously: “The Democratic Party stands with LGBTQ communities in America and around the world. We believe that no one should face discrimination, bullying, or violence because of who they are or who they love.
“That’s why we’re working to enact legislation like the Equality Act to protect LGBTQ Americans. We believe in the values of inclusion and opportunity for all, and we will never stop fighting for the equality every human being deserves.”
Human Rights Campaign President Chad Griffin said: “No person’s fundamental rights should be determined by which side of a state line they live on.
“The Equality Act will once and for all end the unacceptable patchwork of non-discrimination laws across this country that leaves LGBTQ people at risk.
“Every American should have a fair chance to earn a living, provide for their families, and live their lives without fear of discrimination. And at its core, that’s what the Equality Act is all about.”