WASHINGTON, DC. (KOLD News 13) - Although same-sex marriage was legalized in the United States in 2015, countless members of the LGBTQ community continue to face discrimination. Today, the Democratic-led senate passed the Equality Act on a 224-206 vote, to enshrine protections for LGBTQ individuals.
The Equality Act extends anti-discrimination protections not just in work environments, but in every place of employment, education, access to credit, jury service, federal funding, housing and public accomodations.
If ratified, the act would amend existing civil rights law to explicitly include sexual orientation and gender identification as protected characteristics.
Rep. Anne Kirkpatrick of Arizona voted to pass the Equality Act to ensure that all LGBTQ Americans are granted full protections under federal law.
“For decades, tireless leaders, activists and committed citizens have marched and mobilized to advance progress and secure the promise of equality and justice for the LGBTQ community in Arizona and across the country,” said Rep. Kirkpatrick. “To build on the progress we have made, I am honored join to my colleagues to pass the Equality Act to finally, fully end discrimination against LGBTQ Americans once and for all.”
In 27 states, LGBTQ Americans do not have state protections against being denied housing because of their sexual orientation; 31 states lack protections regarding access to education; and 38 states lack protections regarding jury service.
And in about half of all states, same-sex couples can be legally denied service at a restaurant or be evicted from their apartment due to sexual preferences.
The Equality Act amends existing federal civil rights laws to create a nationwide standard that explicitly prohibits discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity everywhere.