WASHINGTON, D.C. –U..S. Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) and Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) joined 46 Senators, led by Oregon’s Senator Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) and Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ), in re-introducing historic, comprehensive federal legislation to ban discrimination against LGBT Americans.
“This bill would make it clear that federal civil rights laws protect individuals from discrimination on the basis of sex, sexual orientation and gender identity. No one should be denied employment or housing because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. Discriminatory practices that strip away the basic civil rights of LGBT individuals threaten our core values as a nation. As President Trump puts the rights of LGBT Americans on the chopping block, the Equality Act is needed now more than ever. It’s time for Congress to recognize that LGBT rights are human rights, and take immediate action to extend protections for all Americans—a concept that shouldn’t even need a debate,” said Blumenthal.
“LGBT rights are human rights, period.” said Murphy. “It’s hard to understand why LGBT equality isn’t already protected under non-discrimination laws, and it’s time for our country to make it right. I hope all of my colleagues take this opportunity to support this bill and stand up for equality.”
Despite major advances in equality for LGBT Americans, including nationwide marriage equality, the majority of states still do not have explicit LGBT non-discrimination protection laws.
The Equality Act of 2017 would ensure full federal non-discrimination equality by adding sexual orientation and gender identity to other protected classes, such as race or religion, in existing federal laws.
The bill would explicitly ban discrimination in a host of areas, including employment, housing, public accommodations, jury service, access to credit, and federal funding.
The bill would also add protections against sex discrimination in parts of anti-discrimination laws where these protections had not been included previously, including in public accommodations and federal funding.
In addition to Blumenthal, Murphy, Merkley, Baldwin, Booker, Schumer and Murray, the legislation is cosponsored in the Senate by Sens. Michael Bennet (D-CO), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Ben Cardin (D-MD), Tom Carper (D-DE), Bob Casey (D-PA), Chris Coons (D-DE), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Al Franken (D-MN), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Kamala Harris (D-CA), Maggie Hassan (D-NH), Martin Heinrich (D-NM), Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Tim Kaine (D-VA), Angus King (I-ME), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Edward J. Markey (D-MA), Claire McCaskill (D-MO), Bob Menendez (D-NJ), Bill Nelson (D-FL), Gary Peters (D-MI), Jack Reed (D-RI), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Brian Schatz (D-HI), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Jon Tester (D-MT), Tom Udall (D-NM), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Mark Warner (D-VA), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), and Ron Wyden (D-OR).
The legislation was filed simultaneously in the U.S. House of Representatives by 194 Representatives, led by Rep. David Cicilline (D-RI)
The full text of the Equality Act of 2017 is available here.