Historic Legislation Guarantees Civil Rights Protections for LGBTQIA Community
Clark delivers floor remarks in support of Equality Act
February 25, 2021, Washington, D.C. — Today, Assistant Speaker Katherine Clark (MA-5) voted to pass the Equality Act, legislation that ensures all LGBTQIA Americans are granted the full protections guaranteed by federal civil rights law. It extends anti-discrimination protections to LGBTQIA Americans with regard to employment, education, access to credit, jury service, federal funding, housing, and public accommodations. The bill passed the House of Representatives by a vote of 224-206 and will now move to the U.S. Senate.
“The Equality Act is a long overdue legislation that puts an end to the discrimination and fear that the LGBTQIA community faces every day, a fear expressed by my own non-binary child”, said Assistant Speaker Clark. “The fact is there is no true freedom for anyone until there is equality for everyone. Our vote to pass the Equality Act says to every person that you matter, that you deserve to live your life freely, and to be treated with dignity and respect. Today, we voted to bring America’s commitment of equality for all to life.”
Fifty percent of the national LGBTQIA community still live in states where, though they have the right to marry, they have no explicit non-discrimination protections in other areas of daily life. In most states, a same-sex couple can get married one day and legally denied service at a restaurant, be fired from their jobs or evicted from their apartment the next. 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.
In 2020, the Supreme Court ruled in Bostock v. Clayton County, that employees are protected from discrimination on the basis of sex, including gender identity and sexual orientation, under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The Equality Act builds on this ruling, the Fair Housing Act and the Civil Rights Act, providing the most comprehensive LGBTQIA protections in American history.