Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Rep. David Cicilline (D-R.I.), and more than 200 other members of Congress today introduced the Equality Act, a comprehensive federal bill that prohibits discrimination against LGBT people and women. In addition to providing explicit nondiscrimination protections to LGBT people, the Equality Act fills gaps in our nation’s civil rights laws for women and people of color.
Gavin Grimm, a transgender high school student whose lawsuit against his school board over its refusal to allow him to use the boys’ restroom helped bring the fight for transgender rights to the national stage, had the following reaction:
“I have had to fight for years to be treated by my school as the young man that I am. Discrimination remains a daily part of life for far too many LGBT people across our country. Everyone deserves to be treated fairly and with dignity. That is all I have ever wanted for myself, and is something the Equality Act could help make real.
“I am only one person, but I know that I am not alone. I am proud to fight alongside the ACLU, members of Congress, and so many others who are working to ensure a better future for LGBT people.”
Ian Thompson, American Civil Liberties Union legislative representative, had the following reaction:
“We cannot allow the current political climate to be used as an excuse for inaction. There is too much at stake for LGBT people, women, and people of color. While the Trump administration continues to act to undermine recent progress, particularly for transgender people, we must fight back by pressing forward with a proactive agenda. In courtrooms and in the halls of legislatures, the ACLU will fight as hard as ever to ensure that LGBT people are able to lead lives that are free from the sting of discrimination. Today’s introduction of the Equality Act serves as an opportunity to recommit to this goal.”
Rea Carey, executive director, National LGBTQ Task Force Action Fund said,“Everyone, regardless of who they are or the person they love, deserves equal protection under the law. Despite the significant progress we’ve made toward equality in the last decade, the Trump Administration’s attacks on LGBTQ people shows just how swiftly many of these hard-fought changes can be rolled back. That is why we need strong federal non-discrimination legislation for LGBTQ people in employment, housing, education, public accommodations, publicly funded programs, access to credit, and jury service.”