Perlmutter Introduces Equality Act of 2017
Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Rep. Ed Perlmutter (CO-07) joined 193 House colleagues in reintroducing the Equality Act to ensure nationwide, comprehensive protection from discrimination for LGBT people. Despite major advances in equality for LGBT Americans, including nationwide marriage equality, the majority of states still do not have explicit, permanent LGBT non-discrimination protection laws. The Equality Act of 2017 would ensure full federal non-discrimination equality by adding sexual orientation and gender identity to other protected classes, such as race or religion, in existing federal laws.
“No matter who you are, where you come from, or who you love, every American has the right to be treated fairly and equally in the eyes of the law,” said Perlmutter. “This patchwork of state laws creates instability and prevents LGBT people from being able to have the freedom to live the life they want.”
The Equality Act would amend the 1964 Civil Rights Act to include nondiscrimination protections on the basis of sex, sexual orientation, and gender identity. The bill would explicitly ban discrimination in a host of areas, including employment, housing, public accommodations, jury service, access to credit, and federal funding. The bill would also add protections against sex discrimination in parts of anti-discrimination laws where these protections had not been included previously, including in public accommodations and federal funding.
In some of these areas, federal law prohibiting sex discrimination has already been properly interpreted by federal courts and administrative agencies to include discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. The Equality Act affirms that understanding of existing law and makes the prohibition against discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity explicit, in order to provide greater clarity to members of the public, employers, schools, businesses and other affected parties. In areas where sex discrimination is not already prohibited, the bill amends existing law to bar discrimination on the basis of sex, as well as sexual orientation, and gender identity.
Currently, LGBT Americans have no protection from discrimination in 29 states. In these states, LGBT persons can be fired, evicted, or denied a loan just because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.
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