Legislation Would Explicitly Ban LGBT Discrimination Nationally
WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senator Gary Peters (MI) joined 39 of his colleagues today in introducing the Equality Act of 2015, bicameral legislation to expand federal civil rights laws to ban discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity, as well as sex where those protections do not already exist. This bill would ensure that the same protections our nation has already extended based on characteristics like race and religion are equally available to the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community.
“After last month’s historic Supreme Court decision making marriage equality the law of the land, we still have a long way to go to eradicate the legal discrimination that LGBT people still face in many states across the country,” Senator Peters said. “The status quo leaves millions of Americans vulnerable to discrimination when they rent an apartment, eat at a restaurant, apply for a credit card or seek employment simply because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. Our nation was founded on the idea that we are all created equal. I’m proud to join my colleagues today to introduce this commonsense legislation to create clear, consistent rules protecting LGBT Americans from discrimination.”
The Equality Act extends comprehensive federal protections in employment, housing, public accommodations, education, credit, jury service and receipt of federal financial assistance to prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. This discrimination is not explicitly prohibited in a majority of states, including Michigan – meaning an LGBT person could legally be fired, denied an apartment or mortgage, or refused service at a restaurant.
The bill’s lead sponsors are U.S. Senators Jeff Merkley (OR), Tammy Baldwin (WI) and Cory Booker (NJ). In addition to Senator Peters, original cosponsors include Senators Michael Bennet (CO), Richard Blumenthal (CT), Barbara Boxer (CA), Sherrod Brown (OH), Maria Cantwell (WA), Ben Cardin (MD), Tom Carper (DE), Chris Coons (DE), Dick Durbin (IL), Dianne Feinstein (CA), Al Franken (MN), Kirsten Gillibrand (NY), Martin Heinrich (NM), Mazie Hirono (HI), Tim Kaine (VA), Angus King (ME), Amy Klobuchar (MN), Patrick Leahy (VT), Edward J. Markey (MA), Claire McCaskill (MO), Bob Menendez (NJ), Barbara Mikulski (MD), Chris Murphy (CT), Patty Murray (WA), Jack Reed (RI), Harry Reid (NV), Bernie Sanders (VT), Brian Schatz (HI), Chuck Schumer (NY), Jeanne Shaheen (NH), Debbie Stabenow (MI), Tom Udall (NM), Mark Warner (VA), Elizabeth Warren (MA), Sheldon Whitehouse (RI), and Ron Wyden (OR).