The Democratic Party has announced it will be re-introducing the Equality Act—a bill that would make it illegal for people to be discriminated against because of their gender identity or sexual orientation.
The bill was first introduced in 2015 and seeks to amend the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to include sex, sexual orientation, and gender identity among the prohibited categories of discrimination in the areas of employment, housing, education, federal funding and credit.
Despite the fact that the Republican Party holds a majority in both houses, the Democrats maintain that they are determined to support LGBT+ rights and keep the issue firmly in the spotlight.
“It’s important for Americans to know whether members of Congress support full equality for our community or whether they support continued discrimination against LGBT Americans,” the bill’s co-sponsor Rep. David Cicilline told BuzzFeed in March.
Speaking earlier today in Washington, Cicilline said the bill “reflects the simple idea that everyone, including members of the LGBT community, is entitled to equal treatment under the law and right to live free of discrimination.
“It’s long past time to guarantee that equal protection under the law applies to every single American regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity, and that’s exactly what the Equality Act will accomplish,” Cicilline said.
Senator Jeff Merkley of Oregon added that, “every American deserves to be treated with dignity and respect.
“Every American deserves to be able to pursue their full potential without the door of discrimination being slammed in their face. When we pass the Equality Act, non-discrimination will be the law of the land here in America once and for all, and that day could not come sooner.”
The legislation has 195 co-sponsors in the House and 46 co-sponsors in the Senate with just one Republican supporter— Ileana Ros-Lehtinen of Florida.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi says the bill is crucial for the safety of the LGBT+ community under the Trump administration.
“Now we must pass the Equality Act to remove all doubt that sexual orientation and gender identity warrant civil rights protection, not just in the workplace, but every place,” Pelosi said.
“…We warn the White House, and every Republican statehouse – this is very important across the country, the statehouses are emboldened to attack the rights of LGBT Americans under this Administration.
"We warn them that the tide of history is to expand freedom and to end discrimination.
"Democrats will fight with our full strength to secure full equality for LGBT families.”