HRC Legal Director Sarah Warbelow to Testify at Congressional Hearing on the Bipartisan Equal

by Stephen Peters

Backed by an overwhelming majority of Americans, the nation's leading companies and more than 350 national and statewide organizations, the critically important bipartisan legislation would finally ensure LGBTQ people are protected under America’s civil rights laws

WASHINGTON — Today, Sarah Warbelow, Legal Director of the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) civil rights organization, will testify on Capitol Hill about the urgent need for the Equality Act — crucially important, bipartisan legislation that will finally provide clear, comprehensive non-discrimination protections for LGBTQ people across the country. The hearing on the legislation will take place this morning in the Education and Labor Subcommittee on Civil Rights and Human Services. Backed by nearly 70% of Americans, hundreds of members of Congress, more than 180 major businesses and more than 350 statewide and national organizations, the Equality Act has growing, unprecedented support.

“For countless LGBTQ Americans, discrimination is tragically still part of their everyday lives,” said HRC Legal Director Sarah Warbelow. “No one should live in fear of discrimination or harassment, yet in 30 states, LGBTQ people are still at risk of being fired, refused housing or denied services simply because of who they are. The Equality Act is critical for the rights and welfare of millions, and it’s vitally important that Congress pass it and provide clear, consistent protections nationwide.”

The historic hearing today will also include the personal story of Kimberly Shappley, the mother of a transgender child, as well as testimony from Patrick Hedren, the vice president of labor, legal and regulatory policy for the National Association of Manufacturers.

WATCH: HRC President Chad Griffin on introduction of the Equality Act
WATCH: Explainer -- Why Do We Need the Equality Act?
WATCH: Fired for being transgender: Carter Brown’s story
WATCH: Civil Rights Leaders and Advocates Highlight Critical Need for the Equality Act
WATCH: Sally Field, Sam Greisman are Americans for the Equality Act

Discrimination is a real and persistent problem for LGBTQ Americans. HRC polling has found that nearly two-thirds of self-identified LGBTQ Americans report experiencing discrimination. Currently, 50 percent of LGBTQ Americans live in the 30 states that still lack statewide legal non-discrimination protections, leaving their residents and visitors at risk of being fired, denied housing, or refused service because of who they are or whom they love. The Equality Act would guarantee existing civil rights laws apply to LGBTQ people by providing clear, consistent non-discrimination protections based on sexual orientation or gender identity across key areas of life, including employment, housing, credit, education, public spaces and services, federally-funded programs and jury service.

The Equality Act has growing, unprecedented support. More than 180 major corporations have joined HRC’s Business Coalition for the Equality Act. Recent polling finds that a growing majority of Americans — including Republicans, Democrats and Independents — support LGBTQ non-discrimination protections and LGBTQ equality. A recent survey by PRRI found that nearly seven in 10 Americans support laws like the Equality Act. More than 350 statewide and national organizations have endorsed the legislation, including social justice, religious, medical and child welfare organizations.

HRC recently launched a public awareness and advertising campaign called “Americans for the Equality Act.” Filmed by award-winning directors Dustin Lance Black and Paris Barclay, the series debut video featured Academy Award-winning actress Sally Field and her son Sam Greisman. The campaign will feature prominent figures in entertainment, sports and beyond speaking about the need for the legislation.

The Human Rights Campaign is America’s largest civil rights organization working to achieve equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people. HRC envisions a world where LGBTQ people are embraced as full members of society at home, at work and in every community.


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