The “Equality Act” Would Prohibit Discrimination Based on Sexual Orientation
WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Representative Abigail Spanberger — a Member of the Congressional Equality Caucus — helped introduce legislation to expand protections for and prevent discrimination against LGBTQ+ Americans in Virginia and across the country.
The Equality Act would amend existing civil rights laws to explicitly prohibit discrimination against LGBTQ+ people in employment, housing, public accommodations, education, federally funded programs, credit, and jury service.
“LGBTQ+ Virginians are our neighbors, our relatives, our colleagues, and our community members. They’re parents, they’re students, and they’re critical to the strength of our Commonwealth and our country,” said Spanberger. “However, we see continued attacks, hatred, and discrimination targeted towards these Americans — simply because they found the person they love, or just because they are standing firm in who they are. I’m proud to once again help introduce the Equality Act in the U.S. House — because LGBTQ+ Virginians deserve the promise of equal protection under the law.”
The Equality Act would also prohibit discrimination on the basis of sex in public accommodations and federally funded programs. Specifically, the Equality Act would amend the definition of public accommodations in the Civil Rights Act — strengthening protections not just on the basis of sex (including sexual orientation, gender identity, and sex characteristics), but also on the basis of race, color, national origin, and religion.
Spanberger voted to pass the Equality Act first in May 2019 and later in February 2021 — both with bipartisan majorities in the U.S. House.
In the wake of the Dobbs decision, Spanberger has consistently worked to protect the rights of LGBTQ+ Virginians. In December 2022, Spanberger cosponsored and voted to pass the bipartisan Respect for Marriage Act, which — after the President signed the bill into law — enshrined marriage equality into federal law for same-sex couples.