Washington, D.C. – Despite significant steps forward, LGBTQ+ Americans around the country are facing an uptick in discrimination and dangerous state-level legislation. To combat these hateful actions, U.S. Senator Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.) joined Senators Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), U.S. Representative Mark Takano (D-CA-39) and dozens of Senate and House colleagues in introducing the Equality Act. The Equality Act is historic, comprehensive legislation that would ban discrimination against LGBTQ+ Americans, just as religious, racial, and ethnic discrimination are illegal everywhere in the United States.
“No one should be denied a loan or fired from a job because of who they are or who they love,” said Senator Cortez Masto. “LGBTQ+ Americans are facing increasing threats and discrimination across the country, and it is more urgent that ever that we pass the Equality Act. I’ll always stand up for every American’s fundamental civil rights protections.”
This legislation would amend the landmark federal anti-discrimination laws to explicitly add sexual orientation and gender identity to longstanding bans on discrimination in employment, housing, public accommodations, jury service, access to credit, federal funding, and more. Many Americans believe that such protections are already explicitly written into federal civil rights law, but this is not the case. The Equality Act would finally enshrine these protections into federal law under all areas of potential discrimination and ensure that these essential protections for LGBTQ+ Americans are not subject to the whims of a changing court.
The full text of the Equality Act can be found here as introduced in the Senate.
Senator Cortez Masto is a strong advocate for LGBTQ+ rights for Nevadans and has cosponsored the Equality Act since she was first elected to the Senate. Last year, she helped pass the landmark Respect for Marriage Act that was signed into law by President Biden. She’s supported legislation to direct the Department of State to continue its efforts in defending the human rights of LGBTQ people around the world. She also pushed for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to collect data on sexual orientation and gender identity to ensure the LGBTQ+ community’s needs were understood and met during the pandemic.