Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.) joined Senator Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), Senator Cory Booker (D-N.J.) and 42 other senators in re-introducing a historic, comprehensive federal legislation to ban discrimination against LGBT Americans. The legislation was filed simultaneously in the U.S. House of Representatives by 194 Representatives, led by Rep. David Cicilline (D-R.I.).
“It is past time the LGBTQ community receive the same rights and protections guaranteed by our constitution,” said Cortez Masto. “It is unfathomable that in many aspects of everyday life, from employment to housing, members of the LGBTQ community still face discrimination because of who they choose to love. This legislation will right this wrong and outlaw hateful practices directed at our fellow Americans. I proudly stand in solidarity with the LGBTQ community in our fight for fairness and equality, and I urge my colleagues to do the same.”
Despite major advances in equality for LGBT Americans, including nationwide marriage equality, the majority of states still do not have explicit LGBT non-discrimination protection laws.
The Equality Act of 2017 would ensure full federal non-discrimination equality by adding sexual orientation and gender identity to other protected classes, such as race or religion, in existing federal laws.
The bill would explicitly ban discrimination in a host of areas, including employment, housing, public accommodations, jury service, access to credit, and federal funding.
The bill would also add protections against sex discrimination in parts of anti-discrimination laws where these protections had not been included previously, including in public accommodations and federal funding.
In addition to Cortez Masto, Merkley, Baldwin, and Booker, the legislation is cosponsored in the Senate by Sens. Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.), Patty Murray (D-Wash.), Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Tom Carper (D-Del.), Bob Casey (D-Pa.), Chris Coons (D-Del.), Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Al Franken (D-Minn.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.), Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.), Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii), Tim Kaine (D-Va.), Angus King (I-Maine), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), Bill Nelson (D-Fla.), Gary Peters (D-Mich.), Jack Reed (D-R.I.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), Jon Tester (D-Mont.), Tom Udall (D-N.M.), Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), Mark Warner (D-Va.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), and Ron Wyden (D-Ore.).
The full text of the Equality Act of 2017 is available here.