WASHINGTON, DC — Today a bipartisan majority of members of the U.S. House of Representatives passed 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. The Equality Act would directly impact seven million LGBTQ Americans who currently live in 30 states across the country that lack these clear and comprehensive protections.
“This is a day to celebrate — not only for the LGBTQ community, but for all people who believe in treating their family members, friends, neighbors, and fellow community members with dignity and respect,” said Masen Davis, CEO of Freedom for All Americans. “For the first time in American history, members of Congress have affirmed that LGBTQ people need express and enduring protections in their daily lives. This is the latest indicator of the mounting evidence of bipartisan momentum across the country in support of LGBTQ Americans, no matter who they are or who they love. It’s urgent that we keep the momentum going and bring people together from all walks of life in order to secure the strongest protections for as many people as we can, as soon as possible. We are grateful to Speaker Pelosi, Rep. Cicilline, and Democratic leadership in the House for prioritizing this crucial legislation.”
Yesterday, advocates delivered petitions to House bill sponsor Rep. David Cicilline from more than 130,000 Americans in support of LGBTQ nondiscrimination protections. On Tuesday, more than 70 religious groups and 5,000 people of faith explicitly endorsed the Equality Act and opposed attempts to use religion to discriminate against LGBTQ people. The Equality Act was introduced for the first time in 2015; and today’s passage follows the first-ever hearings on the bill earlier this year.
Over the past year, bipartisan momentum for treating LGBTQ people fairly has increased in a number of additional ways, including:
- The first-ever victories for transgender rights by popular vote (in the city of Anchorage, AK and in the state of Massachusetts)
- Over two dozen Republican lawmakers who are currently serving as sponsors of LGBTQ nondiscrimination legislation in fifteen states
- Executive orders issued by six governors advancing LGBTQ nondiscrimination protections, including outgoing Republican governors John Kasich (OH) and Rick Snyder (MI) and incoming governor Mike DeWine (OH)
- On-the-record statements from Republican lawmakers in conservative states who are distancing themselves from anti-LGBTQ measures in places like Georgia, South Dakota, and Texas
The Equality Act would have a direct, positive impact on families like Krista and Jami Contreras, who were turned away from the pediatrician’s office at their six-day-old newborn baby’s first check-up simply because they are a same-sex couple. Krista and Jami were some of the many voices who testified in support of the legislation. For additional stories on the impact of discrimination in the real lives of LGBTQ Americans every single day, visit Faces of Freedom at https://www.facesoffreedom.org/.