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Equality Act introduced in U.S. Congress
2019-03-13

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On March 13, Democrats reintroduced the pro-LGBT measure known as the Equality Act in the U.S. House, The Washington Blade reported.

Rep. David Cicilline ( D-R.I. ) and Sen. Jeff Merkley ( D-Ore. )—the chief sponsors of the Equality Act in their respective chambers of Congress—touted the introduction of the legislation during a news conference at the U.S. Capitol. Cicilline, who is openly gay, said the act is necessary because "millions of LGBTQ Americans are still less equal where they live."

The Equality Act would amend the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Fair Housing Act to ban anti-LGBT discrimination in employment, housing, public accommodations, jury service, education, federal programs and credit.

Several pro-LGBT organizations lauded the development, and urged the measure's passage. Pride at Work Executive Director Jerame Davis said in a statement, "Despite progress, discrimination against LGBTQ Americans is still a serious problem throughout the country. ... Today's reintroduction of the Equality Act in the House of Representatives is an important step toward combatting the ongoing discrimination our community faces."

Vanita Gupta, president and CEO of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, said, "Discrimination is wrong. But in 30 states, people can fire, refuse housing, or deny services to LGBTQ people simply because of who they are and who they love. We need clarity in federal civil-rights statutes that help ensure equal opportunity and dignity for all LGBTQ individuals in America. This clarification must protect existing provisions of core civil rights statutes by expanding them and not rolling them back in any way. We urge Congress to pass the Equality Act."

"Legal discrimination remains a potent and dangerous force in the lives of far too many people, including the lives of LGBTQ youth who can be discriminated against in schools, and LGBTQ educators who can be fired just for being who they are," said Eliza Byard, executive director of GLSEN. "We call on Congress to pass The Equality Act, and take a historic and vital step forward to ensure that Americans' rights and livelihood are protected regardless of where they happen to live."

The Blade article is at www.washingtonblade.com/2019/03/13/equality-act-returns-with-house-democrats-in-majority/ .


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