Equality Act Advances in Second Congressional Hearing

April 9, 2019 • 5:33 pm

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today the House Education and Labor Committee held a hearing on the Equality Act, which would update federal law to include express and enduring nondiscrimination protections for Americans based on sexual orientation and gender identity across virtually every area of daily life. Today’s hearing follows the first-ever hearing on the bill last week in the House Judiciary Committee.

“Discrimination happens to LGBTQ people in America every single day, and in 30 states, there are no express and enduring protections that ensure we are all treated with dignity and respect,” said Masen Davis, CEO of Freedom for All Americans. “With bipartisan support for LGBTQ nondiscrimination protections growing in all areas of life, Congress now has a historic opportunity to create a better future for millions of LGBTQ youth and adults alike.

“Protecting LGBTQ people from discrimination isn’t about policy or politics, left or right, red or blue,” said Davis. “It’s about building a country where every one of us can go about our daily lives without the fear of discrimination or violence—no matter who we love, what we believe, who we are, or where we live.”

Just today, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation released a new report, “Business Success and Growth Through LGBT-Inclusive Culture.” The report shows that businesses that support LGBTQ equality, including those located in areas with state and local nondiscrimination protections in place, attract better talent and decrease employee turnover.

Over 1,200 small businesses from all 50 states have signed on to the Small Businesses Against LGBTQ Discrimination coalition led by Freedom for All Americans, demonstrating their support for keeping small businesses open to all—including customers who are LGBTQ.

Recent polling also shows that a supermajority of small business owners support federal nondiscrimination protections for LGBTQ people. According to a November 2017 survey by Small Business Majority, 65% of small business owners believe that businesses should not be able to cite their religious beliefs as a reason for denying goods or service to an LGBTQ person; 59% of small business owners believe that legislation permitting discrimination on religious grounds is bad for business; and 68% of small business owners say they favor a federal law protecting LGBTQ people from discrimination in places of public accommodation, including hotels, businesses, and restaurants.

For stories on the impact of discrimination in the real lives of LGBTQ Americans every single day, check out Faces of Freedom at https://www.facesoffreedom.org/.

Freedom for All Americans is the bipartisan campaign to secure full nondiscrimination protections for LGBTQ people nationwide. Our work brings together Republicans and Democrats, businesses large and small, people of faith, and allies from all walks of life to make the case for comprehensive nondiscrimination protections that ensure everyone is treated fairly and equally.

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