Senate and House Democrats Introduce Sweeping Federal LGBT Rights Bill

Democrats in both houses of Congress today introduced the most significant new legislation to protect LGBT people from discrimination, an act amending the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and other federal laws. But without support from the opposition, Republicans in control of both House and Senate are unlikely to pass this bill.

Democrats Jeff Merkley of Oregon, Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin and Cory Booker of New Jersey are the lead sponsors in the Senate; David Cicilline of Rhode Island, also a Democrat, is the lead sponsor in the House.

“In most states, you can get married on Saturday, post your wedding photos to Facebook on Sunday, and then get fired on Monday just because of who you are,” said Cicilline at a news conference Thursday on Capitol Hill. “This is completely wrong. Fairness and equality are core American values. No American citizen should ever have to live their lives in fear of discrimination. I am introducing the Equality Act today with 157 House co-sponsors in order to ensure that LGBT Americans have the same rights and protections afforded to all other Americans.”

The proposed legislation is called the Equality Act and would include protections in public accommodations, public education, employment, housing, federal funding, jury service, legal protections, and credit. The bill would also clarify that the Religious Freedom Restoration Act cannot be used to defend discrimination against LGBT people.

The legislation also clarifies that sex-segregated facilities must admit individuals in accordance to their gender identity, and that it applies to anyone discriminated against because of their perceived sexual orientation or gender identity or association with a protected class.

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Source: The Advocate The Advocate

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