WASHINGTON, D.C. — A bipartisan majority of the U.S. House of Representatives today voted to pass legislation U.S. Representative Abigail Spanberger helped introduce to expand protections for LGBTQ people in Central Virginia and across the country.
Currently, only 21 states explicitly prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation. This patchwork of protections is often insufficient to prevent the discrimination of LGBTQ people in employment, housing, and other areas of daily life.
In March, 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. Today, the House voted to pass the Equality Act on a bipartisan vote.
“As the U.S. Representative for Virginia’s Seventh District, I represent a diverse group of constituents—and I firmly believe that all those I serve should be afforded the exact same protections under law. But for too long, federal law has not fully protected our LGBTQ neighbors from facing discrimination—whether when buying a new home, accessing a quality education, or keeping a good-paying job,” said Spanberger. “Today marks a moment of progress in our work to protect the civil rights of all Americans. Since arriving in the House, I’ve been proud to help introduce and pass this bipartisan bill, because no American should face discrimination or harassment based on whom they love. I encourage our colleagues in the Senate to support and pass this bill, so that all Americans can obtain the rights and protections they deserve as U.S. citizens.”
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-01) and Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA-01).