Norcross: We’re One Step Closer to Ending Discrimination Against LGBTQ Americans Once & For All
Equality Act Passes House of Representatives
WASHINGTON, DC – Today, U.S. Congressman Donald Norcross (NJ-01) voted in favor of the bipartisan Equality Act, which passed the House of Representatives with a 236-173 vote. The Act would add to the Civil Rights Act of 1964 nondiscrimination protections on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity in the same areas of life that are protected for Americans on the basis of race, color, religion and national origin.
“We must end discrimination in all forms and I’ll fight until we achieve full equality under the law for all Americans, including members of the LGBTQ communities,” said Congressman Norcross. “No American should live in fear and every American should have the law on their side when discrimination or harassment occurs. Diversity is America’s strength and compassion is our value; the Equality Act is a clear necessity, since it would protect millions of Americans under law.”
“While LGBTQ New Jerseyans enjoy commonsense legal protections against discrimination, 44% of LGBTQ Americans still live in states where it is legal to fire, deny housing, or refuse service to someone simply because of who they are or who they love,” said Christian Fuscarino, executive director of Garden State Equality. “Today’s passage of The Equality Act in the House is a historic step forward to ensuring equality under the law truly means equality for all, and I am proud that New Jersey’s congressional delegation is leading the way in championing civil rights for LGBTQ Americans across the nation.”
Norcross is a member of the Congressional LGBT Equality Caucus and has been a sponsor of the Equality Act since he was elected to serve in Congress.
About The Equality Act
Despite significant advances, LGBTQ people across the country remain vulnerable to discrimination. In many states, same-sex couples now have the right to marry (because of national law), but receive no explicit non-discrimination protections. This means that a same-sex couple could legally marry one day and risk being fired from their jobs, evicted from their apartment or kicked out of a restaurant the next day – simply because of who they are.
The Equality Act ensures that the same protections already extended to other protected classes are equally available to LGBTQ Americans. It amends existing federal civil rights laws to explicitly prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity in education, employment, housing, credit, Federal jury service, public spaces, and in Federal programs.
In some of these areas, federal law prohibiting sex discrimination has already been properly interpreted by federal courts and administrative agencies to include discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. The Equality Act affirms that understanding of existing law and makes the prohibition against discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity explicit, in order to provide greater clarity to members of the public, employers, schools, businesses and other affected parties.
In addition to advancing protections for LGBTQ Americans, the Equality Act also expands protections for all other protected classes under the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The Equality Act also broadens the definition of public accommodations and services to include transportation services, legal services and banks, amongst others.