Today, U.S. Rep. David Cicilline (D-RI) and U.S. Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR) announced the introduction of the Equality Act, federal legislation that, if passed, would provide consistent and explicit anti-discrimination protections for LGBTQ people across key areas of life, including employment, housing, credit, education, public spaces and services, federally funded programs. The Equality Act would amend existing civil rights law—including the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Fair Housing Act, the Equal Credit Opportunity Act, the Jury Selection and Services Act, and several laws regarding employment with the federal government—to explicitly include sexual orientation and gender identity as protected characteristics.
Christina Wilson Remlin, Lead Counsel at Children’s Rights, issued this statement:
“By adding sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, and expression to our fundamental civil rights laws, Congress can ensure that child welfare providers receiving federal funding treat the youth and families they serve with dignity and respect. Without the passage of the Equality Act, all too often youth and families are subjected to discriminatory treatment through a patchwork of state and local laws and policies that leave them vulnerable to the will of whoever has political power in the moment. The Equality Act will put a stop to that and ensure our LGBTQ+ friends and family will be truly protected in all walks of life.”