With Anticipated Senate Action on the Equality Act Drawing Nearer, Pennsylvanians Urge Toomey to Vote in Support of Federal Anti-Discrimination Protections for LGBTQ+ People
With anticipated action on the Equality Act in the U.S. Senate drawing nearer, more than 5,300 Pennsylvanians delivered letters and postcards to Sen. Pat Toomey’s office, urging his support for the landmark legislation — which would modernize our nation’s civil rights laws by including explicit protections for LGBTQ+ people, as well as improve protections for women, people of color, and people of all faiths. Organized by the Human Rights Campaign — the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ+) civil rights organization — the “drop off” included 5,387 letters and postcards from Pennsylvanians making the case for the Equality Act on behalf of the more than 400,000 LGBTQ+ adults in Pennsylvania that would be impacted by the landmark legislation.
“As Pennsylvanians, we understand the importance of treating every person with dignity and respect. We know that everyone should have the liberty and freedom to realize their full potential. That can’t happen, however, until all of us are equal in the eyes of the law, regardless of our sexual orientation or gender identity,” said Ryan Matthews, Pennsylvania State Director for the Human Rights Campaign. “Pennsylvania and the United States are ready for the Equality Act to become law. We hope that Senator Toomey will listen to the voices of his constituents and vote to approve the Equality Act when it comes to the Senate floor for a vote.”
Based on an assessment of Pennsylvania’s laws as of April 2021 — conducted by the Center for American Progress, an allied organization working with HRC and other leading organizations to advocate for the Equality Act — passage of the Equality Act would extend additional rights in the state to a total of 416,000 LGBTQ adults, 5,241,328 women, 2,976,100 people of color, and 893,167 individuals born outside the United States
The Equality Act, which passed the U.S. House earlier this year, would modernize our nation’s civil rights laws by including explicit protections for LGBTQ+ people, as well as improve protections for women, people of color, and people of all faiths. Today’s announcement reinforces the breadth and depth of support for the Equality Act. Polling conducted last month by the Public Religion Research Institute found that 82 percent of Americans — including overwhelming majorities of Republicans, Democrats, and independents — support extending non-discrimination protections to the LGBTQ+ community.
The Equality Act ensures everyone in America, including LGBTQ+ people, are protected from harassment and discrimination in all areas of life. Currently, even if an LGBTQ+ person works for a company that provides clear non-discrimination protections and inclusive cultures, that employee and their family members can still experience discrimination in other areas of life and have no legal recourse. In the majority of states — 29 states in total — that lack explicit nondiscrimination protections, these employees can be denied healthcare, loans, housing, and basic goods and services because they are LGBTQ.
More information on the Equality Act can be found on HRC’s website here. More information about Freedom & Opportunity For All — the coalition advocating for the Equality Act, of which HRC is a founding member — can be found here.
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