Breaking: Bipartisan Lawmakers Pass H. R. 5, the Equality Act

February 25, 2021 • 4:43 pm

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today bipartisan lawmakers in the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 5, the Equality Act, to update federal civil rights law to ensure explicit and comprehensive protections for LGBTQ people from discrimination in virtually every area of life.

Kasey Suffredini, CEO and national campaign director of Freedom for All Americans, the bipartisan campaign to secure LGBTQ nondiscrimination protections nationwide, issued the following statement in response to the win:

“With today’s passage of the Equality Act in the U.S. House, our community’s work for more than 50 years to ensure long-sought nondiscrimination protections for LGBTQ Americans has passed its first milestone on the way to accomplishing a once-in-a-generation opportunity. We thank Speaker Pelosi for making this legislation a priority and all House lawmakers who voted with their hearts in favor of their friends, family members, constituents and neighbors who happen to be LGBTQ. We’re now on to the U.S. Senate, which must move swiftly to come together to finish the job of ensuring all Americans are treated with dignity and respect. Too many millions of Americans are vulnerable to discrimination every day in a majority of states. The Equality Act is about securing urgent protections that will make real people’s lives better and our community cannot wait any longer.”

The Equality Act would ensure protections for LGBTQ people from discrimination in all areas of life, including housing, employment, federally-funded programs and services, and public places such as restaurants, stores, hospitals, and more. A majority of states currently lack these protections, leaving more than 50% of the country’s LGBTQ population – millions of Americans – vulnerable to discrimination.

The urgency and momentum for LGBTQ nondiscrimination protections over recent years is undeniable. According to a 2020 study, one in three LGBTQ Americans faced discrimination in the previous year, including three in five transgender Americans.
Bipartisan consensus for nationwide LGBTQ nondiscrimination protections is rising quickly. Public support is at an all-time high and polls show that a growing bipartisan supermajority of Americans support protecting LGBTQ people from discrimination: in a 2020 PRRI survey, more than eight in ten Americans (83%), including majorities of Independents (85%) and Republicans (68%), expressed support for these protections.

More than 155 state and local organizations in all 50 states that have done grassroots work for decades to advance LGBTQ nondiscrimination protections recently announced their support and highlighted the urgent need for the legislation. The full joint letter can be found here: https://eqfed.org/EqualityActIntro Late last year, 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.

President-elect Biden, House Speaker Pelosi, and Senate Majority Leader Schumer all promised to make passage of the Equality Act a policy priority. The legislation was introduced on Tuesday in the U.S. Senate as S. 393.

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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