The 2015 Equality Act Could Help End LGBT Discrimination for Good
It's been a historic summer for LGBT rights, and it looks like Congress has some more great news on the way. Representative David Cicilline (D-R.I.) and Senator Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) introduced the Equality Act to their respective peers on July 23. The new law would serve as an update to the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which provided Americans fair employment and financial and domestic protections regardless of their race or sex. What's really exciting, though, is that the benefits of the bill ensure equal opportunities for all Americans — not just members of the LGBT community. Discriminating against people based on their sexual orientation, gender identity, or sex would be totally illegal.
The act would supply the following provisions:
• People could not be denied service, fired or evicted for being LGBT
Additionally, any business or organization that receives federal funding would not be allowed to practice anti-LGBT policies. LGBT people would also receive fair access to credit funding and financial aid.
• It would be illegal to charge someone more for not being a man
Believe it or not, predatory pricing is still a problem when it comes to the economy. Under the Equality Act, it would be illegal to charge a woman more money for being a woman.
• Citizens of color would benefit from a more comprehensive definition of public services
"Public accommodations," as defined by the Civil Rights Act of 1964, would be updated to include healthcare services, banks, retailers, public transportation, and more. None of the aforementioned services or businesses would be allowed to discriminate against people because of their race.
The bill is supported by congressional all-stars like Senators Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.). Potential presidential nominee Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) announced via a spokesperson that he would be among the 40 cosponsors of the bill.
Other democratic presidential hopefuls Martin O'Malley and Hillary Clinton announced their support for the bill on Twitter:
I proudly support the new LGBT civil rights bill—we must continue to fight for a more open, respectful & inclusive nation. #EqualityAct -O’M
— Martin O'Malley (@MartinOMalley) July 23, 2015
The Equality Act will mean full federal equality for LGBT Americans & stronger anti-discrimination protections for everyone. Past time. -H
— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) July 23, 2015
No republican nominees have currently announced support for the bill. But a federal mandate to end LGBT discrimination already has an all-star list of corporate supporters, with Apple, Twitter, PayPal, and more than 100 other tech leaders calling for an end to discriminatory practices.
With this much support, it looks like 2015 might be one of the greatest years for equal rights progress ever.
Check out how MAKERS celebrates LGBT pride by watching our celebratory video above.
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• Major Victory for LGBT Couples in Italy
• The Ban on Transgender Men and Women in the Military Is Over
• Arkansas Won't Let Same-Sex Parents Put Both Their Names on Children's Birth Certificates
• Barnard College Is Now Accepting Transgender Women
Photo Credit: Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call