Equality Act Would Improve the Lives of All People, Strengthen Country

Statement of Debra L. Ness, President, National Partnership for Women & Families

“For too long discrimination against people who are LGBTQ has been allowed in our nation’s workplaces, public spaces, schools, housing and elsewhere due to gaps in our civil rights laws. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 made it illegal to discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, sex or national origin. The Equality Act would expand on this to include protections on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity, and would also outlaw discrimination against women in public spaces and federally funded programs.

Today’s introduction of the Equality Act is a long-overdue step forward in extending civil rights protections to millions of women and LGBTQ people. Even as marriage equality is the law of the land, in many states, individuals can still be fired or denied housing because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. Women and LGBTQ people can face discrimination — and have no recourse — when they are engaging in activities as simple as shopping, commuting to work or eating at a restaurant. Establishing clear protections for women and LGBTQ people in public spaces and federally funded programs is critical at a time when vulnerable communities are under attack from the current administration. The Equality Act would provide a consistent, national standard and ensure that everyone has the opportunity to live safely and with dignity, to advance at work, provide for one’s family and to thrive economically.

Voters elected the most diverse Congress in history and provided them with a mandate to pursue a progressive agenda. In addition, recent polls show that a growing majority of people in America support LGBTQ equality. We implore members of Congress to pass the Equality Act to make our country fairer and stronger.”

About the National Partnership

The National Partnership for Women & Families is a nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy group dedicated to promoting fairness in the workplace, reproductive health and rights, access to quality, affordable health care and policies that help all people meet the dual demands of work and family. More information is available at NationalPartnership.org.

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