Saturday, June 24, 2023

Democrats reintroduce the Equality Act

Democrats in both chambers of U.S. Congress reintroduced the Equality Act, legislation the party has sought to pass for more than a decade that would extend federal nondiscrimination protections to include LGBTQ Americans.

The lawmakers announced the move in a press conference convened by U.S. Rep. Mark Takano (D-Calif.) and U.S. Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) who, respectively, reintroduced the Equality Act in the House along with its companion bill in the Senate.

The legislators and LGBTQ advocacy group leaders delivered remarks stressing the importance of passing the Equality Act, noting its unanimous support from Democrats in both chambers.

Comments from Democratic leaders also focused on the fraught political environment with respect to LGBTQ rights and the ways in which the Equality Act represents a continuation of some of the most important work the Congress has undertaken to protect Americans from discrimination.

Several members who spoke, including House Speaker Emerita Nancy Pelosi, invoked the memory of their late colleague, congressman and iconic civil rights activist John Lewis, who, in a manner consistent with the principles to which he dedicated his life and career, was an early and ardent champion of the Equality Act.

“As extreme MAGA state legislators across the country continue their assault on LGBTQ Americans, especially the trans community, the fight against bigotry and discrimination remains urgent as ever,” Pelosi warned.

Under the leadership of former Congressman David Cicilline (D-R.I.), the legislation was passed in the lower chamber in 2019 and 2021 but ultimately failed to move through the Senate.

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