It’s Time to Pass the Equality ActBy Communications Team • December 7, 2020 • 7:00 am
The bipartisan Equality Act will update federal law to include express and enduring nondiscrimination protections for LGBTQ Americans in key areas of life including employment, housing, education, and public spaces.
The Supreme Court Has Spoken
In a landmark victory for equality, the Supreme Court recently ruled in Bostock v. Clayton County that employment discrimination against LGBTQ people is sex discrimination and prohibited by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
The Equality Act would codify that decision by listing sexual orientation and gender identity as prohibited grounds of employment discrimination under federal law, and would clarify that other federal laws barring sex discrimination also prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.
Courts across the country have agreed that LGBTQ people should be protected under existing nondiscrimination laws, and now the highest court in our nation has affirmed that Title VII protects LGBTQ people at work. It’s time for Congress to finish the job and pass the Equality Act. LGBTQ Americans can’t wait any longer for clear and comprehensive equality under the law.
The Equality Act Will
- Codify the recent Supreme Court ruling in Bostock v. Clayton County by expressly listing sexual orientation and gender identity as prohibited grounds of employment discrimination under federal law.
- Clarify that other federal laws barring sex discrimination, like the
Fair Housing Act, also prohibit sexual orientation and gender identity discrimination.
- Modernize public accommodations protections for all Americans by expanding the types of places where discrimination is prohibited.
Patchwork Protections are Unfair
Though 21 states and over 300 cities have passed LGBTQ nondiscrimination protections, 50 percent of LGBTQ people live in the 29 states that still lack comprehensive statewide laws. This patchwork of protections is unsustainable and leaves too many people behind.
The Equality Act would ensure that all LGBTQ Americans can live, work, and access public spaces free from discrimination, no matter what state they call home.
Protections for Everyone
History shows that civil rights laws are effective in decreasing discrimination because they provide strong federal remedies for vulnerable groups.
The Equality Act will update the public spaces and services covered under Title II of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to include stores, banks, hospitals, legal services, and transportation. This update will strengthen existing federal civil rights law for ALL Americans, including protections based on race, color, sex, national origin, and religion.
The Equality Act has broad and deep support across lines of political party, demographics, and geography. A recent survey by the nonpartisan Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI) found that 83 percent of Americans support LGBTQ nondiscrimination protections.
Support for LGBTQ Nondiscrimination Across the Political Spectrum
- Democrats: 94%
- Independents: 85%
- Republicans: 68%
The bill has been endorsed by a broad coalition that includes over 275 businesses, 50 trade and professional associations, and 500 advocacy organizations.
Thousands of American faith leaders of all denominations have urged Congress to pass federal LGBTQ nondiscrimination protections. Freedom of religion is fully protected under the First Amendment and the Equality Act will not change that.