WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Representative Abigail Spanberger today helped introduce bipartisan legislation to reaffirm and expand protections for LGBTQ people in Central Virginia and across the country.
Currently, only 21 states explicitly prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation, and this patchwork of protections is often insufficient to prevent the discrimination of LGBTQ people in employment, housing, and other areas of daily life. Today, Spanberger helped introduce the bipartisan Equality Act of 2019, which would offer new anti-discrimination protections for LGBTQ Americans who too often face discrimination without any legal recourse.
“When I was elected to represent the Seventh District of Virginia, I was elected to represent all of our communities—regardless of political affiliation, race, socioeconomic background, or sexual orientation,” said Spanberger. “Equal rights is a core American value. Every single American deserves to be treated equally under the law—and our bipartisan bill would reassert that fundamental principle. No American should face discrimination in the workplace, simply because of whom they love. And no American should be denied fair housing or access to education, just because of their sexual orientation or their gender identity. Despite significant civil rights advances, the work remains unfinished. The quest to make equal rights under law real for all Americans continues and it should never become a partisan fight. The Equality Act addresses gaps in the enforcement of our laws and brings Americans—regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity—under the same protections. I urge my colleagues in the House and Senate to promptly pass this critical civil rights law.”
The bipartisan legislation would amend the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to ensure that LGBTQ Americans are afforded the same protections against discrimination as every other American. Specifically, the bill would change existing civil rights laws to explicitly prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in public accommodations, federal financial assistance, education, employment, housing, access to credit, and federal jury service. Federal courts and agencies have already interpreted federal law banning sex discrimination to include discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity—and the Equality Act affirms that understanding of existing law in order to provide more clarity to the public.
Spanberger is an original cosponsor of the Equality Act, which is led by U.S. Representatives David Cicilline (D-RI-1) and Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA-01).