Rep. Donna Shalala (FL-27) kept her promise to strengthen LGBTQ rights today by voting for H.R. 5, the Equality Act, landmark legislation that would extend anti-discrimination protections to the LGBTQ community with regard to employment, education, access to credit, jury service, federal funding, housing, public accommodations, and more.
“In Florida and many other states, LGBTQ Americans are still at risk of being fired, evicted and denied services because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. Today, we have taken a crucial step in ending this injustice,” said Rep. Shalala. “With the passage of this bill, we uphold the human rights of LGBTQ individuals across the country, asserting that no American should face discrimination based on who they are or who they love.”
The Equality Act builds on decades of civil rights legislation, including the Civil Rights Act, the Voting Rights Act, and the Fair Housing Act. While federal courts and administrative agencies have already taken some steps to extend sex discrimination protections to discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, the Equality Act codifies these interpretations into law. This explicit prohibition against discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity provides clarity for employers, schools, businesses, and the public. In areas where sex discrimination is not already prohibited, the bill amends existing law to bar discrimination on the basis of sex, sexual orientation, and gender identity.
The Equality Act has bipartisan support in Congress and the endorsement of over 200 major companies operating across all 50 states, over 45 trade organizations, and over 500 statewide and national organizations. Most importantly, the bill has the overwhelming support of the American people – with over seven in ten Americans supporting the Equality Act.