Customer Non-Discrimination Act

H.R. 3520

The Problem

Despite significant steps forward, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) Americans lack basic legal protections in states across the country.  The patchwork nature of current laws leaves millions of people subject to uncertainty and potential discrimination that impacts their safety, their families, and their very way of life.

Our nation’s civil rights laws protect people on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, and disabilities in public accommodations – meaning public spaces and commercial services that are available to the general public, such as restaurants, theatres, and hotels. However, no federal law prohibits discrimination in public places and services on the basis of sex, gender identity, or sexual orientation. Consequently, people can be denied access to these public places and services based on who they are or who they love, with little recourse.

What is the Customer Non-Discrimination Act?

The Customer Non-Discrimination Act would amend the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to prohibit discrimination based on sex, sexual orientation, and gender identity in public accommodations. Additionally, it would update the public spaces and services covered in current law to include retail stores, services such as banks and legal services, healthcare providers, and transportation services. These important updates would strengthen existing protections for everyone.

Decades of civil rights history show that civil rights laws are effective in decreasing discrimination because they provide strong federal remedies targeted to specific vulnerable groups. By explicitly including sex, sexual orientation, and gender identity in our laws prohibiting discrimination in public places and services, LGBTQ people will finally be afforded the exact same protections as other covered characteristics under federal law.

States’ Experiences

19 states and the District of Columbia have LGBTQ-inclusive non-discrimination laws and regulations that cover public accommodations. An additional two states prohibit discrimination in public accommodations based on only sexual orientation.

What is the Current Status of the Bill?

The Customer Non-Discrimination Act was introduced in the House of Representatives by Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-NJ) on July 28, 2017.

 

For more information, please contact legislation@hrc.org. Read about other federal legislation pertinent to the LGBTQ community here.

Last Updated: January 4, 2017