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House LGBT Caucus Celebrates Historic Passage of Bipartisan Equality Act

May 17, 2019
Press Release

420 Cannon House Office Building, Washington, D.C. 20003

Date: May 17, 2019      Contact:  Aliya Bean, (202) 225-2305

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

House LGBT Caucus Celebrates Historic Passage of Bipartisan Equality Act

Washington D.C. – The Congressional LGBT Equality Caucus today celebrated the unprecedented passage of the Equality Act. In a bipartisan vote of 236-173 the House passed this landmark legislation which would provide clear, comprehensive anti-discrimination protections for LGBTQ Americans in regard to employment, education, access to credit, jury service, federal funding, housing, and public accommodations. The passage of this historic legislation says, unequivocally—to the American people, to our Senate counterparts, and to the President—that LGBTQ Americans deserve the full protections guaranteed under our nation’s civil rights laws. We strongly urge the Senate to follow the House’s lead and pass the Equality Act.  

“No one should ever be forced to lose their jobs, their homes or live in fear because of who they are or whom they love,” said Speaker Nancy Pelosi. “By passing the Equality Act, House Democrats are taking a momentous step toward finally, fully ending discrimination against LGBTQ Americans in the workplace, and in every place. In this critical fight, we have been blessed by Congressman David Cicilline’s bold leadership and vision, which  have been essential as Democrats work to bring our nation closer to its founding promise of fairness and equality for all.”

“With Democrats now in the Majority, the House is finally taking action to stamp out discrimination against LGBT Americans in housing, credit, education, employment, public accommodation, and every law under which other groups are protected,” said Majority Leader Steny Hoyer. “I was proud to bring the Equality Act to the Floor for a vote today, and I commend the Congressional LGBT Equality Caucus and its Members for their leadership in advocating for this legislation and helping to secure its passage. Democrats will continue to fight for full equality for all Americans.”

“With the passage of the Equality Act, House Democrats delivered on a key promise to ensure that civil rights are applied equitably and fairly to all Americans, especially to folks in the LGBTQ community,” said Majority Whip James E. Clyburn. “Discrimination against any community in employment, housing, and public accommodations goes against our nation’s core values and no one should live in fear because of who they are, how they identify, or who they love.” 

“The LGBTQ community has waited nearly 250 years for full equality in our country. Today, we’re one step closer to that goal. Equal treatment under the law and a commitment to fairness and equality are founding values of our country. Discrimination of any kind is wrong and no one should ever be treated as less than equal because of who they are or who they love,” said LGBT Equality Caucus Co-Chair Rep. David N. Cicilline (RI-01). “The American people overwhelmingly support this bill in every single state. In fact, 84% of Kentucky residents support protections for the LGBTQ community. I hope that Senator McConnell will bring this bill to floor as soon as possible. If he chooses not to do so, his constituents will have a chance to hold him accountable in just 18 months.”

“In 28 states, my family could be evicted from our home just because I’m gay. My husband, Randy, could be fired from his job because we’re married. It’s crazy – you can step across a state line and suddenly you be legally discriminated against just because of who you are or who you love,” said LGBT Equality Caucus Co-Chair Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney (NY-18). “That’s plain wrong. We’re more than five decades behind where we should be on fulfilling the promises of the Equality Act, today we got one step closer.”

“Today is a truly historic day for civil rights in our country. With final passage of the Equality Act in the House of Representatives, we have taken the first step to explicitly bar discrimination based on both sexual orientation and gender identity for every American. Regardless of who you are, or whom you love, you should have the right to live freely and openly,” said LGBT Equality Caucus Co-Chair Rep. Mark Pocan (WI-02). “The road to equality has been long and filled with hard-fought battles, but we are making remarkable progress. Close to four decades ago, Wisconsin led the nation as the first state to enact legislation barring discrimination based on sexual orientation and I’m so excited that we are now working to expand this protection to everyone across the country.”

“The passage of the Equality Act is history in the making,” said LGBT Equality Caucus Co-Chair Rep. Mark Takano (CA-41). “By passing this landmark piece of legislation, we are finally including the LGBTQ+ community in ‘We the People.’ No person in America should face discrimination, but too many vulnerable members of the LGBTQ+ community live in states with no legal protections. This bill will change that and guarantee that a person’s rights will not be dependent on the zip code where they live. When this bill becomes law, LGBTQ+ people will have the law on their side and there will be recourse in the face of injustice. Full equality is within reach, we must keep fighting for it.”

“When I grew up in rural America as an LGBTQ person, I never thought that I would see legislation as historic as the Equality Act, let alone be in Congress to vote for its passage,” said LGBT Equality Caucus Co-Chair Rep. Angie Craig (MN-02). “Today, Congress sent a message to every American that who you love should never stop you from having the opportunity to earn a good life. All of our communities are stronger when we recognize the basic humanity of our LGBTQ neighbors by giving them full protections under the law.”

“Today, the House sent a message that every person in this country, no matter who they love or how they identify, deserves equal protection under the law,” said LGBT Equality Caucus Co-Chair Rep. Sharice Davids (KS-03). “I’m proud to join my colleagues in passing the Equality Act to help ensure that LGBTQ Americans can live free from discrimination and enjoy their basic human rights no matter where they live, work or go to school.”

“Through my work as the executive director of California’s largest homelessness services nonprofit, I’ve seen how disproportionately our community is affected by discrimination.,” said LGBT Equality Caucus Co-Chair Rep. Katie Hill (CA-25). “The Equality Act will provide basic protections in terms of employment, housing, education, and more. Everyone should have a fair chance to earn a living and provide a home for their families without fear of harassment or discrimination. I couldn’t be prouder to be a part of a new generation of leaders who will be the ones to finally pass the Equality Act and fight for true freedom and equality for all.”

“We have come so far in the fight for full equality, and with the passage of the Equality Act through the House we will make history,” said LGBT Equality Caucus Co-Chair Rep. Chris Pappas (NH-01). “But we have so much more to do in order to guarantee equal rights to every American. As a member of the most diverse Congress in American history, I recognize the immense responsibility we have to advance that fundamental goal. Outlawing discrimination in employment, housing, education, and public spaces will send a profound message to the next generation of LGBTQ Americans that their voices are being heard, they have a seat at the table, and their country accepts them for who they are. As a proud member of the LGBTQ community who used to wonder whether or not this country had a place for me, I know that full equality under the law will change and save lives. We must keep fighting until we achieve it.”

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. Approximately 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.

The Equality Act will ensure that all LGBTQ Americans can enjoy their most basic human rights no matter where they live, work, or go to school. The Equality Act has the bipartisan support of Members of Congress, the strong support of more than 200 corporations, and the overwhelming support of the American people. 

Please contact Aliya Bean at 202-225-2305 or aliya.bean@mail.house.gov with press inquiries.

Founded in 2008, the mission of the Congressional LGBT Equality Caucus is to promote lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) equality. The Caucus, which is led by the eight openly LGBT members of Congress, is strongly committed to achieving the full enjoyment of human rights for LGBT people in the U.S. and around the world.

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