ACLU Comment on Introduction of the Equality Act in Congress

July 23, 2015 12:30 pm

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WASHINGTON — Today, U.S. Senators Jeff Merkley, Tammy Baldwin, and Cory Booker and U.S. Representative David Cicilline introduced the Equality Act, a comprehensive federal bill that will prohibit discrimination against women and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Americans. This legislation fills gaps in America’s civil rights laws, and is fully in keeping with a commitment to equal treatment under the law for all.

The Equality Act would expand the existing Civil Rights Act passed more than 50 years ago to include sexual orientation and gender identity as explicitly protected classes and adds sex to prohibitions against discrimination in public accommodations and with federal funding — much-needed protections that will guarantee women and LGBT people are treated equally in a number of important areas. The bill’s introduction comes on the heels of several momentous victories for LGBT equality. Less than a month ago, the Supreme Court ruled that the Constitution prohibits states from denying same-sex couples the freedom to marry.

James Esseks, Director of the LGBT Project of the American Civil Liberties Union, said:

“Today is a historic day that has been decades in the making. The Equality Act would transform the lives of countless women and LGBT people. Our country’s most basic promise of equal treatment under the law will never be real if you fear losing your job, being kicked out of your home, denied access to healthcare or turned away from a business because of who you are. Both the lack of clear and explicit federal protections for LGBT people and the lack of protections for women in core areas of American life are unacceptable. We urge Congress to take up this landmark bill and make our country a more just nation for all.”

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The American Civil Liberties Union is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed to every person in this country by the Constitution and laws of the United States of America.