This bill was introduced in the House as H.R.2282  by Rep. David Cicilline (D-RI) and in the Senate as S.1006 by Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR) on May 2, 2017

Summary

This long-overdue bill is a comprehensive federal bill for LGBTQ civil rights, providing essential, critical protections and resetting the debate. Rather than creating a bill calling for new rights, The Equality Act would amend the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and other federal laws, existing solely to have LGBTQ people treated the same as every other protected class under federal law, while strengthening the law for all who are currently protected. People who are LGBTQ currently lack equal protections regarding employment, public services and spaces, public education, fair housing, credit, and access to jury service. This bill would amend the Civil Rights Act to provide these needed protections. PFLAG National and its many chapters will be at the forefront of the work to pass this critical piece of federal legislation.

PFLAG Talking Points

  • The Equality Act will strengthen anti-discrimination protections not just for the LGBTQ community but for everyone, including women and communities of color. The Equality Act will not diminish current provisions in the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Instead it will strengthen anti-discrimination protections for everyone by adding protections on the basis of sex, sexual orientation and gender identity, as well as expanding the definition of public accommodations, and stating that religious freedom cannot be a defense for discrimination against any protected class.

  • LGBTQ people deserve to be treated like every other protected class. This bill would extend the same raft of rights to LGBTQ Americans that are currently afforded to other protected groups which includes employment, public services and spaces, public education, fair housing, credit, and access to jury service.

  • The Equality Act would provide full protection from discrimination for all LGBTQ people in the U.S. Passing the Equality Act would end inconsistencies that vary by geography and ensure that, no matter where an LGBTQ person lives, they enjoy the same protections as all other people.

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