Senate Judiciary Committee Announces Witnesses for Upcoming Equality Act Hearing

by HRC Staff

Post submitted by Lucas Acosta (he/him), former Deputy Director of Communications, Politics

Today, the Senate Committee on the Judiciary announced witnesses for its upcoming hearing on the Equality Act. Set for Wednesday, March 17th at 10am ET, the committee will feature Members of Congress, advocates and leaders including: Human Rights Campaign President Alphonso David, transgender youth and advocate Stella Keating and Dr. Edith Guffey, Conference Minister of the Kansas-Oklahoma Conference of the United Church of Christ.

“This Wednesday will be a historic opportunity to advance equality for all. For the first time in our decades-long fight for equal rights, the Senate will host a hearing on the Equality Act and I welcome this important opportunity to highlight the need for this critical legislation. The Equality Act is a unifying issue for our nation enjoying support from more than two-thirds of Americans and an unprecedented number of businesses who believe that not only is achieving equality the right thing to do but that it is also good business. Thank you Chair Durbin for holding this hearing, and inviting me to participate. Together, our movement will make our voices heard and finally ensure LGBTQ people have the legal protections they need and deserve.”

Alphonso David, Human Rights Campaign President

In May of 2019, the Equality Act passed the House of Representatives with a strong bipartisan vote. Last week, the Equality Act, H.R. 5, was reintroduced in Congress with unprecedented support from the majority of voters, and major statewide and national organizations. The nonpartisan Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI) found that national support for LGBTQ non-discrimination protections topped 70 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 also comes with unprecedented support from the business community: More than 380 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 $6.4 trillion in revenue. In total, these companies employ more than 13.4 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).

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