President Joe Biden today (Friday, Feb. 19) issued a statement in support of The Equality Act, re-introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives yesterday (Thursday, Feb. 18), by openly gay U.S. Rep. David Cicilline, D-R.I., who has introduced the measure each year since 2015. Three Democratic senators — Jeff Merkley of Oregon, Cory Booker of New Jersey and, the first open lesbian elected to the Senate, Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin — are expected to re-introduce The Equality Act in the Senate next week.
Full equality has been denied to LGBTQ+ Americans and their families for far too long. Despite the extraordinary progress the LGBTQ+ community has made to secure their basic civil rights, discrimination is still rampant in many areas of our society. The Equality Act provides long overdue federal civil rights protections on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity, locking in critical safeguards in our housing, education, public services, and lending systems — and codifying the courage and resilience of the LGBTQ+ movement into enduring law.
On my first day in office, I was proud to sign an Executive Order on Preventing and Combating Discrimination on the Basis of Gender Identity or Sexual Orientation. I directed agencies to implement the Supreme Court’s Bostock ruling, and fully enforce Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and other laws that prohibit discrimination on the basis of gender identity or sexual orientation. Now, it’s time for Congress to secure these protections once and for all by passing the Equality Act — because no one should ever face discrimination or live in fear because of who they are or whom they love.