February 25, 2021
Today with a bipartisan vote the U.S. House passed the Equality Act, legislation that will ensure clear and explicit nondiscrimination protections under federal law for LGBTQ Americans in vital areas including housing, employment, healthcare, education, and public spaces. The bill now moves to the Senate, where it was introduced earlier this week. President Biden has made passing the bill a top priority, and polling from PRRI shows the measure is strongly supported by 83% of Americans across all walks of life and political affiliations.
GLAD Executive Director Janson Wu issued the following statement:
“Today the U.S. House took a vital step toward ensuring the promise of equality, opportunity, and a level playing field for all Americans. An overwhelming and bipartisan majority of Americans agree that updating our federal laws to explicitly prohibit discrimination against LGBTQ people is a simple matter of fairness. Passing the Equality Act will ensure that LGBTQ people – and all people – can contribute to their families, communities, and workplaces while being treated with the dignity and equality all Americans need and deserve. We’re grateful to lead House Sponsor Rep. Cicilline and the Representatives who supported this critical bill today, and we call on the Senate to join the House, follow the lead of the American people, and send the Equality Act to President Biden for his signature this session.”
In addition to ensuring clear and explicit protections for LGBTQ people under all federal laws that prohibit sex discrimination, the Equality Act updates protections for everyone covered under the federal Civil Rights Act. The bill adds a ban on sex discrimination in public spaces and for federally funded programs, which can include crucial services like shelters, substance use treatment, mortgage and low-income housing assistance, SNAP benefits, and school meals. The Equality Act also updates what is considered a public accommodation to cover the contemporary range of retailers, modern public venues, and transportation, including car services, taxis, trains, and airlines, where people of color face consistent discrimination.