GLAD Praises Refiling of the Equality Act in Congress

Federal legislation would provide nondiscrimination protections for LGBTQI+ Americans

Today, the Congressional Equality Caucus refiled the Equality Act, (H.R. 15/S. 5), legislation that would amend existing civil rights laws to explicitly prohibit discrimination against LGBTQI+ people in employment, housing, public accommodations, education, federally-funded programs, credit, and jury service.

GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders (GLAD) strongly supports the Equality Act as a means to ensure LGBTQ+ Americans are treated with the same dignity, fairness, and respect afforded to others.

“An overwhelming majority of Americans across political parties, states, and walks of life support updating our federal laws to explicitly prohibit discrimination against LGBTQ+ people. The Equality Act will ensure that LGBTQ+ people—and all people—can support their families and contribute to their communities and workplaces while being treated with the dignity and equality all Americans need and deserve,” said Janson Wu, executive director of GLAD.

The lead sponsors of the Equality Act are Representative Mark Takano and Senator Jeff Merkley, who was joined by Senator Tammy Baldwin and Senator Cory Booker for reintroduction in the Senate. The Equality Act garnered bipartisan support when it passed in the House in 2019 and 2021.

“We are grateful to Representative Takano and Senator Merkley for their leadership in re-introducing the Equality Act at this moment,” Wu added. “While some politicians are targeting LGBTQ+ people, especially transgender people, with extremely harmful legislation, with this bill Congress has an opportunity to uphold the will of the American people and ensure explicit protections in federal law for LGBTQ+ people in housing, employment, and all areas of life.”

In addition to the aforementioned protections for LGBTQI+ people, the Equality Act would also prohibit discrimination on the basis of sex in public accommodations and federally funded programs. It also expands the definition of public accommodations in the Civil Rights Act, strengthening protections not just on the basis of sex (including sexual orientation, gender identity, and sex characteristics), but also on the basis of race, color, national origin, and religion.