Today, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) released the following statement ahead of the first-ever hearing on the Equality Act set to take place this morning in the House Judiciary Committee. The crucially important, bipartisan legislation will finally provide clear, comprehensive non-discrimination protections for LGBTQ people across the country. The Equality Act has unprecedented support and is backed by nearly 70% of Americans, hundreds of members of Congress, more than 180 major businesses and more than 330 statewide and national organizations.
“No one should live in fear of discrimination or harassment because of who they are or whom they love,” said HRC President Chad Griffin. “LGBTQ Americans still face real and persistent discrimination in their everyday lives, and their rights should not be determined by what side of a city or state line they live on. It’s crucial that Congress advance the bipartisan Equality Act, and today’s historic hearing by the House Judiciary Committee is an important first step toward ensuring LGBTQ people are protected from discrimination across this country.”
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The historic hearing today will include personal stories from Carter Brown and Jami Contreras, as well as testimony from Sunu Chandy, Legal Director, National Women's Law Center; Tia Silas, Vice President and Global Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer, IBM Corporation; Rev. Dr. Dennis Wiley, Pastor Emeritus, Covenant Baptist United Church of Christ; and Kenji Yoshino, Chief Justice Earl Warren Professor of Constitutional Law at New York University School of Law.
Discrimination is a real and persistent problem for LGBTQ Americans. HRC polling has found that nearly two-thirds of self-identified LGBTQ Americans report experiencing discrimination. Currently, 50 percent of LGBTQ Americans live in the 30 states that still lack statewide legal non-discrimination protections, leaving their residents and visitors at risk of being fired, denied housing, or refused service because of who they are or whom they love. The Equality Act would guarantee existing civil rights laws apply to LGBTQ people by providing clear, consistent non-discrimination protections based on sexual orientation or gender identity across key areas of life, including employment, housing, credit, education, public spaces and services, federally-funded programs and jury service.
The Equality Act has growing, unprecedented support. More than 180 major corporations have joined HRC’s Business Coalition for the Equality Act. Recent polling finds that a growing majority of Americans — including Republicans, Democrats and Independents — support LGBTQ non-discrimination protections and LGBTQ equality. A recent survey by PRRI found that nearly seven in 10 Americans support laws like the Equality Act. More than 330 statewide and national organizations have endorsed the legislation, including social justice, religious, medical and child welfare organizations.