This is kinda good news, though with a ‘Don’t Hold your Breath’ caveat, but there’s a new bill set to be introduced into Congress today that would explicitly ban anti-LGBT discrimination in all areas of civil rights law.
The bill, the Equality Act, sponsored by Democratic Representatives David Cicilline [above left], of Rhode Island, and Jeff Merkley [above right], of Oregon, would ban anti-LGBT discrimination in seven areas: credit, education, employment, federal funding, housing, jury service and public accommodations.
The name of the bill is the same as one introduced more than forty years ago by the late Congresswoman Bella Abzug that would have amended the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to include sexual orientation.
Forty years is a long time …
Of course, this bill, as any with regards to the LGBT community, faces an uphill battle in a GOP Congress. As of now there are no Republican co-sponsors, but Cicilline says lawmakers have until Thursday at noon to sign on as original co-sponsors. Even some LGBT-friendly Republicans, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Susan Collins Mark Kirk haven’t come out in support of the bill.
“I think it’s clear where the Democrats stand on this, but I think we’re all hopeful that we’ll be able to bring this effort forward in a bipartisan way. We’re not in a position yet to say that’s the case, but, obviously, I’m going to continue to do outreach, as I know Sen. Merkley is going on the Senate side to try to make this a bipartisan effort. But we won’t know that, obviously until the bill is introduced.” — David Cicilline
Most people say the Equality Act won’t see any movement in Congress, and also say, sadly, that if any LGBT legislation gets passed it just might be the First Amendment Defense Act, a religious freedom bill like that vile one in Indiana, which seems to allow, and celebrate anti-LGBT discrimination.
That hateful bill, introduced by Senator Mike Lee and Representative Raul Labrador, both Republicans, has 130 co-sponsors in the House and 36 co-sponsors in the Senate.
While we won one battle, we still have a long way to go to achieve full equality, as David Cicilline points out:
“Every day, millions of LGBT Americans face the danger of real discrimination and sometimes even violence because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. In most states, a same-sex couple can get married on Saturday, post pictures on Facebook on Sunday, and then risk being fired from their job or kicked out of their apartment on Monday.”
The march goes on …