140+ Mayors in 29 States Lacking LGBTQ Protections Urge Congress to Pass Federal Bill

December 15, 2020 • 2:10 pm

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today more than 140 mayors, city councilors, and municipal leaders in all 29 states lacking comprehensive LGBTQ nondiscrimination protections delivered a letter to their members of Congress urging passage at the federal level.

The letter explains the need for federal nondiscrimination protections for LGBTQ Americans in every area of life. The signers represent a supermajority of Americans who strongly support LGBTQ nondiscrimination protections — 83%, including majorities of Democrats, Republicans, and Independents. The full letter and list of signers appears here: freedomforallamericans.org/mayors-patchwork-letter/

“As a mayor, I understand the needs of all my constituents firsthand, including my LGBTQ residents who contribute so much to our community,” said Mayor Steve Schewel of Durham, North Carolina. “We need to pass the strongest possible nondiscrimination protections at the local level, but as mayors we cannot also protect our constituents when they cross state borders for work, or travel to another place for vacation. The only way to codify the strongest nondiscrimination protections possible is through federal legislation like the Equality Act, which would allow LGBTQ people to take care of their loved ones and go about their lives safely and happily. Congress should advance these protections as soon as possible in the 2021 legislative session.”

In a historic bipartisan vote in 2019, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Equality Act, which would update federal law to explicitly protect LGBTQ Americans from discrimination; but the Senate has failed to advance the legislation. Where possible, mayors, city councilors, county executives and other local officials have enacted a wide range of local laws and ordinances prohibiting discrimination to fill in the gap. More than 400 local and county ordinances have been enacted in the states currently lacking comprehensive protections, and more than 660 have passed in all 50 states. President-elect Biden has promised to make passage of the Equality Act a policy priority in his first 100 days of office.

“No one should have to fear discrimination anywhere, no matter what zip code they call home,” said Mayor Corey Woods of Tempe, Arizona. “Passing federal nondiscrimination protections is the best way to ensure that all LGBTQ Americans are treated with dignity and respect regardless of where they live, work, or travel.”

LGBTQ people have been disproportionately impacted by the coronavirus pandemic, making nondiscrimination protections even more urgent. A recent survey showed that LGBTQ Americans have been more likely to lose their jobs and face financial hardship amid the pandemic. Brave LGBTQ people who are serving on the frontlines as medical personnel and who are putting their lives at risk to stop this pandemic could be vulnerable to discrimination off the job – such as being evicted or refused housing, or refused service at a business or even at the doctor’s office if they contract COVID-19. The risks are exacerbated for LGBTQ people of color.

According to a 2020 study, one in three LGBTQ Americans faced discrimination in the previous year, including three in five transgender Americans.

To see the full letter and list of municipal signers, visit freedomforallamericans.org/mayors-patchwork-letter/.

Freedom for All Americans is the bipartisan campaign to secure full nondiscrimination protections for LGBTQ people nationwide. Our work brings together Republicans and Democrats, businesses large and small, people of faith, and allies from all walks of life to make the case for comprehensive nondiscrimination protections that ensure everyone is treated fairly and equally.

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