The Equality Act — One for All



With the reintroduction of the Equality Act, here is some analysis and perspective on key aspects of the historic bill from our Advocacy and Action Department team:

Public Accommodations/Desegregation of Public Facilities

“Where LGBTQ people, especially trans people face the most routine yet dangerous discrimination is often in public spaces while trying to go about their daily lives. Trans people regularly find themselves attacked for who they are, often violently, for using the bathroom, for going into public businesses, and so forth. Nearly one third of trans people have experienced one type of mistreatment in the past year in a place of public accommodation. By banning public accommodations discrimination against LGBTQ people, the Equality Act protects the rights of all to be able to exist in the world free from fear,”

Victoria M. Rodríguez-Roldán, J.D.
Senior Policy Counsel, Trans/Gender Nonconforming Justice Director, Disability Justice Project Director

Employment 

“It’s a fact that 90% of transgender people have experienced harassment in the workplace, and that 27% of those who held or applied for a job in the past year alone were not hired, denied a promotion, or fired, during that year because of their gender identity or expression,”

Victoria M. Rodríguez-Roldán, J.D.
Senior Policy Counsel, Trans/Gender Nonconforming Justice Director, Disability Justice Project Director

Economic Justice (Equal Credit Opportunity Act) 

“LGBTQ people, especially transgender  and gender nonconforming people and LGBTQ people of color face systemic discrimination that makes it hard to access the sort of assets that help people build wealth, like a house or a car.  Clarifying that discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity in access to credit is prohibited will help LGBTQ people and families build long-term economic security,”

Meghan Maury, Esq.
Policy Director

Housing

“LGBTQ people, especially LGBTQ people of color and transgender people, are significantly more likely to experience homelessness; in fact, 40% of young people experiencing homelessness identify as LGBTQ or gender nonconforming, and most of those young people are young people of color.  Access to housing is, unsurprisingly, the best pathway out of homelessness, so explicitly prohibiting sexual orientation and gender identity discrimination in housing will help reduce the number of LGBTQ folks who experience housing instability,”

Meghan Maury, Esq.
Policy Director

Repro

“The Equality Act is a nondiscrimination bill that stems from a foundational reproductive justice framework: intersectionality. This bill recognizes that ‘a single instance of discrimination may have more than one basis’.  Finally, this bill catches up to reality and recognizes that discrimination against a pregnant lesbian could be based on her sex, her sexual orientation, her pregnancy, or on the basis of multiple factors. This piece of legislation would prohibit discrimination on the basis of sex, which includes sexual orientation and gender identity, but it also prohibits discrimination based on sex stereotypes, pregnancy and childbirth.  Many parents are not allowed to breastfeed in public with dignity and this bill will ensure that no one is discriminated against because of the need to feed their child,”

Candace Bond-Theriault, Esq., LL.M.
Senior Policy Counsel, Reproductive Health, Rights, & Justice, Democracy Project Director

People of Faith

“Our nation rightly defends the freedom of religion, making it unlawful to discriminate against people who hold religious beliefs. But LGBTQ people are still left vulnerable to discrimination by people who use their faith to justify withholding access to services and accommodations that all citizens should be able to enjoy. The Equality Act further clarifies that freedom of religion includes freedom from religion. This clarification aligns with American values. In fact, the research shows that 61% of people of faith in America actually support LGBTQ inclusion – they know that their faithfulness does not require or sanctify prejudice. By explicitly prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sex, sexual orientation, and gender identity, we curb the reach of ‘civil’ religion and protect LGBTQ people from harm due to the abuse and legislation of religious understanding,”

Naomi Christine Leapheart, M.Div.
Faith Work Director

Racial Justice

“For decades our civil rights laws have had several holes that were a result of compromises made in order to pass much needed, historic protections for the Black community and others. The Equality Act seeks to patch up some of those holes and strengthen our protections for all. By expanding the definition of public accommodations to include retail stores, transportation services like airports, taxis and bus stations, and service providers, the Equality Act will ensure that people of color are able to fight back against racial discrimination in more places we frequent. For women of color, the Equality Act will provide protections for those of us who face discrimination at the intersection of our race and sex. I am proud to champion this legislation and to ensure that every person of color, regardless of their sex, will be protected in employment, housing, public accommodations and much more!”

Victoria Kirby York
Deputy Director