While there have been important gains over the last several years in securing LGBTQ civil rights protections, there remain significant gaps in state law that leave LGBTQ Americans vulnerable to discrimination. This is because there is no federal law that provides consistent nondiscrimination protections based on sexual orientation or gender identity.
The bipartisan Equality Act would provide federal nondiscrimination protection across key areas of daily life, including employment, credit, education, public spaces and services, federally-funded programs and jury service. It is a much-needed fix for the current uneven patchwork of state nondiscrimination protections.
Our nation’s federal civil rights laws provide protection from discrimination on the basis race, color, national origin, and in most cases, sex, disability, and religion. The Equality Act would amend existing civil rights law – including the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Fair Housing Act, the Equal Credit Opportunity Act, the Jury Selection and Services Act – to include sexual orientation and gender identity as protected characteristics. It retains the same religious exemptions that already exist for other protected characteristics.
The Equality Act is one more step toward upholding our principles of fairness and equality. It reflects the belief that everyone deserves the chance to earn a living and provide a home for their families without fear of discrimination.
The United Church of Christ General Synod has long advocated for the civil rights of LGBTQ people, grounded in the recognition of the God-given worth and dignity of every individual. We are called by biblical mandate to respect the full humanity of each person and to resist practices which deny individuals their full humanity. Support for the Equality Act is consistent with our longstanding faith calling to fairness and justice.
All of us are diminished when individuals are prevented from contributing the full measure of their talent and ability to society. Stand for fairness and urge your members of Congress to support the Equality Act.