(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – Today, Congressman Jamie Raskin (MD-08) joined nearly 240 other Members of Congress in proudly introducing the Equality Act of 2019. This historic legislation says, unequivocally, that LGBTQ Americans deserve the full protections guaranteed by the landmark Civil Rights Act of 1964. The Equality Act extends anti-discrimination protections to LGBTQ Americans with regard to employment, education, access to credit, jury service, federal funding, housing, and public accommodations.
"No American should ever be treated as less than equal in the eyes of the law," said Rep. Raskin. "The Equality Act will guarantee that LGBTQ Americans in Maryland and across the country cannot be discriminated against because of who they are or whom they love. It is long past time for this legislation to become law and that is why I proudly joined my colleagues today to get the job done."
Despite significant legal advances over the past several years – including marriage equality, LGBTQ Americans remain vulnerable to discrimination on a daily basis and too often have little recourse. Fifty percent of the national LGBTQ community live in states where, though they have the right to marry, they have no explicit non-discrimination protections in other areas of daily life. In most states, a same-sex couple can get married one day and legally denied service at a restaurant, be fired from their jobs or evicted from their apartment the next.
In some areas, federal law prohibiting sex discrimination has already been properly interpreted by federal courts and administrative agencies to include discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. The Equality Act affirms these interpretations of existing law and makes the prohibition against discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity explicit, in order to provide greater clarity to members of the public, employers, schools, businesses and others. In areas where sex discrimination is not already prohibited, the bill amends existing law to bar discrimination on the basis of sex, as well as sexual orientation and gender identity.
The Equality Act has the bipartisan support of Members of Congress, the strong support of the business community, and the overwhelming support of the American people – with more than 7 in 10 supporting the Equality Act.