On June 21and, fittingly, during Pride Monthfour Democratic lawmakers reintroduced the Equality Act in Congress.
According to ABC News, several lawmakersincluding U.S. Rep. Mark Takano as well as U.S. Sens. Jeff Merkley, Tammy Baldwin and Cory Bookerare behind the bill, which comes amid a nationwide rise in anti-LGBTQ+ sentiment that has led to an increase in violence and threats against the queer community.
The measure would expand federal civil-rights law to ban discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in areas such as education, federal funding, employment, housing and the jury system.
Several pro-LGBTQ+ organizations and individuals lauded the bill's reintroduction.
In a press release, National LGBTQ Task Force Action Fund Executive Director Kierra Johnson said, "Currently, LGBTQ people in 29 states are not protected by anti-discrimination laws. This patchwork of equality is indefensible and in the current hostile climate at the state level, this legislation is more important than ever. We implore Congress to consider the Equality Act as a must-pass bill and use every tool available to ensure the protection of LGBTQ communities. [Fifty-one]% of Americans support civil-rights laws that end discrimination against LGBTQ people."
National Black Justice Coalition Executive Director Dr. David J. Johns said in a separate statement, "Passing the Equality Act is particularly important for people who are both Black and LGBTQ+/SGL. At its core, the bill acknowledges that all Black people should be covered by existing civil rights protections provided by laws like the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Fair Housing Act.
"The Act ensures clear and consistent federal protections for all LGBTQ+ Americans, many of whom currently live in fear of discrimination because no such laws exist to protect us in key areas including employment, housing, education, credit, public spaces and services, jury service, and federally funded programs; and a profile ration of attacks based on race and sexual orientation, gender identity and expression. Supplementing the Bostock Supreme Court decision, the Equality Act would also ensure an LGBTQ+/SGL employee cannot be fired because of their sexual orientation."
However, Johns added, "While the bill is unlikely to pass under the current House Majority, whose leadership's platform is erected upon eroding democracy, anti-Blackness, and LGBTQ+ hate, it is important that our community is aware of the politically-motivated suppression of this bill."
National Center for Lesbian Rights Executive Director Imani Rupert-Gordon added in a separate release, "The Equality Act would fill gaps in existing federal civil rights laws and extend much-needed nondiscrimination protections in vital parts of everyday life to LGBTQ people, including the most underrepresented in our communities, for the very first time."
U.S. Rep. Mike Quigley (D-Illinois), a staunch LGBTQ+ ally, also commended the reintroduction, saying, "At a time when the assault on LGBTQI+ Americans by the far right grows more dangerous each day, the Equality Act is more important than ever."
Almost 500 anti-LGBTQ+ bills have been introduced this year, according to the American Civil Liberties Union.