February 18, 2021
GLAD Hails Reintroduction in the House, Calls on Congress to Pass the Equality Act this SessionToday the Equality Act was reintroduced in the U.S. House of Representatives as H.R. 5. The bill, first introduced in 2015, 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 Equality Act passed the House with a vote in 2019 but was blocked at the time in the Senate. 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: “The Equality Act is vital to ensuring the promise of a level playing field for all Americans, and we cannot wait any longer to pass it. An overwhelming and bipartisan majority of the American public strongly supports updating our laws to explicitly prohibit discrimination against LGBTQ people in every area of life, including employment, housing, education, healthcare, and public spaces. The U.S. Supreme Court recognized in its June 2020 Bostock ruling that mistreating someone because of their gender identity or sexual orientation is sex discrimination – something we as a nation agreed a long time ago was wrong. Passing the Equality Act is the next critical step toward preventing and addressing such harmful discrimination and ensuring that LGBTQ people – and all people – can contribute to their families, communities and workplaces while being treated with the fairness and dignity all Americans need and deserve. Congress must 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. Learn more about why GLAD supports the Equality Act.