The Equality Act will ban discrimination against the queer and trans community and strengthen LGBTQ+ rights
WASHINGTON – This week, U.S. Senators John Hickenlooper and Michael Bennet joined 48 of their colleagues to reintroduce the Equality Act, which bans discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in housing, education, employment, public accommodations, federal funding, and more.
“Our LGBTQ+ community deserves the right to be who they are without fear of discrimination and hate,” said Hickenlooper. “The Equality Act will follow Colorado’s lead so the LGBTQ+ community is as protected as everyone else. Love is love is love!”
“American history has always been a struggle between our highest ideals and our worst instincts – and while Colorado has led the country by banning discrimination against people in the LGBTQ+ community, millions of Americans can still be fired, denied housing, or turned away from a store because of who they are. It’s time for the Senate to follow Colorado’s lead and pass the Equality Act,” said Bennet.
Specifically, the Equality Act would amend the landmark Civil Rights Act of 1964 to explicitly add sexual orientation and gender identity to longstanding bans on discrimination in employment, housing, public accommodations, jury service, education, access to credit, federal funding, and more. It would also add protections against sex discrimination in parts of anti-discrimination laws where these protections had not been included previously, such as public accommodations and federal funding.
LGBTQ+ Americans around the country are facing an uptick in discrimination and dangerous state-sponsored legislation. State legislatures have introduced nearly 500 pieces of legislation that target LGBTQ+ rights. Despite Americans’ increasing support of LGBTQ+ rights and protections, the majority of states currently do not have fully-inclusive non-discrimination laws for members of the LGBTQ+ community. In Colorado, it has been illegal to discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity since 2008.
Hickenlooper and Bennet are fierce supporters of the LGBTQ+ community. Recently, Hickenlooper and Bennet joined a Senate resolution recognizing June 2023 as LGBTQ+ Pride Month. Last Congress, Hickenlooper and Bennet voted in support of the bipartisan Respect for Marriage Act, which protects marriage equality and guarantees same-sex and interracial couples have the same rights afforded to all other marriages. In November, Hickenlooper took to the Senate floor to reiterate his support for the LGBTQ+ community after the tragic Club Q shooting in Colorado Springs.
As governor of Colorado, Hickenlooper signed into law legislation that allowed same-sex couples to enter into civil unions in 2013. Same-sex marriage became legal in Colorado in 2014. Hickenlooper also signed a law to expand the Family and Medical Leave Act in Colorado to include same-sex partners.
For full text of the legislation, click HERE.