LGBTQ Equality is a Unifying Issue for Our Nation, Equality Act Reintroduced in Congress

by Viet Tran

Human Rights Campaign responded to the re-introduction of the Equality Act — federal legislation that would guarantee explicit, permanent protections for LGBTQ people under our nation's existing civil rights laws. The legislation would provide clear, and permanent protections under federal law for all Americans in vital areas of life, like housing, access to public spaces, credit, education, jury service and federally-funded programs.

Achieving LGBTQ equality is a unifying issue for our nation. Today, the Equality Act was reintroduced in Congress with broad support from a majority of people in this country, hundreds of Members of Congress and an unprecedented number of businesses who believe that every person should be treated equally under the law. While President Biden’s Executive Order implementing the Supreme Court’s Bostock ruling was a crucial step in addressing discrimination against LGBTQ people, it’s still vital that Congress pass the Equality Act to codify the Bostock decision to ensure protection in key areas of life including where existing civil rights laws do not have protections on the basis of sex. The Human Rights Campaign thanks Speaker Pelosi, Congressman David Cicilline, Senators Jeff Merkley, Tammy Baldwin, and Cory Booker for prioritizing LGBTQ equality and for taking this crucial step forward on behalf of all Americans.

Alphonso David, President of the Human Rights Campaign

The Equality Act will again be H.R. 5, signaling it is a priority for House Democrats. It passed the House of Representatives in May 2019 on a strong bipartisan vote of 236 to 173.

The Equality Act has unprecedented support from the majority of voters, the business community and major statewide and national organizations. The nonpartisan Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI) found that national support for the Equality Act topped 83 percent, which includes a majority of Democrats, Republicans and Independents. According to polls analyzed by FiveThirtyEight, President Biden’s most popular executive order thus far was his order prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity earning 83% in support. Currently, only twenty-two states and more than 125 cities have adopted common-sense, inclusive and comprehensive protections for LGBTQ people.

Today’s announcement included unprecedented support from the business community: Over 335 major corporations have joined HRC’s Business Coalition for the Equality Act. While the overwhelming majority of America’s leading businesses have already started addressing workplace fairness for LGBTQ employees, these major employers know how important the need is for a federal standard that treats all employees the same no matter which state they live in. The slate of companies endorsing the Equality Act have combined operations in all 50 states, headquarters spanning 33 states, and collectively generate $5.7 trillion in revenue. In total, these companies employ more than 12.4 million people across the United States.

The Equality Act is supported by hundreds of Members of Congress in addition to more than 600 local, state and national organizations. It was first introduced in 2015 by U.S. Representatives David Cicilline (D-RI) and John Lewis (D-GA) and Senators Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) and Cory Booker (D-NJ).