The Human Rights Campaign joined with bipartisan lawmakers and an unprecedented number of businesses to announce the re-introduction of the Equality Act — federal legislation that would finally guarantee explicit, permanent protections for LGBTQ people under our nation's existing civil rights laws.
The bipartisan legislation would provide clear and equal protections under federal law for all Americans in vital areas of life, like employment, access to public spaces, housing, credit, education, jury service and federally-funded programs.
In a majority of U.S. states, LGBTQ people remain at risk of being fired, evicted or denied services because of who they are.
“No person’s fundamental rights should be determined by which side of a state line they live on,” said HRC President Chad Griffin. “The Equality Act will once and for all end the unacceptable patchwork of non-discrimination laws across this country that leaves LGBTQ people at risk. Every American should have a fair chance to earn a living, provide for their families, and live their lives without fear of discrimination. And at its core, that’s what the Equality Act is all about.”
Discrimination is a real and persistent problem for far too many 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 states where they are at risk of being fired, denied housing or refused service because of who they are.
There is no federal law explicitly protecting LGBTQ people from discrimination and 31 states still lack fully-inclusive non-discrimination protections for LGBTQ people.
The announcement May 2 included unprecedented support from the business community. The slate of companies endorsing the Equality Act have combined operations in all 50 states, headquarters spanning 23 states and collectively generate $2.6 trillion in revenue. In total, these companies employ more than 5.8 million people across the United States.
Also, an overwhelming majority of Americans support full federal equality for LGBTQ people. Polling released last year by the nonpartisan Public Religion Research Institute found that support for a bill like the Equality Act topped 70 percent nationally, including a majority of Democrats, Republicans and Independents.
PRRI’s survey included 42,000 interviews in 50 states and found majority support for the Equality Act in all 50 states.
The Equality Act is co-sponsored by 240 members of Congress.
It was first introduced in 2015 by Rep. David Cicilline, D-Rhode Island, and by U.S. Send. Jeff Merkley, D-Oregon, Tammy Baldwin, D-Wisconsin, and Cory Booker, D-New Jersey.