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March 02, 2021

King Announces Support for Landmark Legislation to Protect LGBTQ Americans

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Angus King (I-Maine) announced that he is an original cosponsor of the Equality Act – historic, comprehensive legislation to ban discrimination against LGBTQ Americans. The legislation would amend existing federal anti-discrimination laws to explicitly add sexual orientation and gender identity to be protected against discrimination in employment, housing, public accommodations, jury service, access to credit, federal funding, and more. It would also add protections against sex discrimination in parts of anti-discrimination laws where these protections had not been included previously, such as public accommodations and federal funding. Companion legislation passed through the House of Representatives last week.

“Our nation was founded on the promise of ‘life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness’; a basic condition of which is that you are free to be yourself without unfair treatment, interference, or other discrimination,” said Senator King. “Unfortunately, right now American law does not guarantee key protections to our LGBTQ citizens, who can be evicted, denied service at public establishments, or blocked from accessing a loan in 29 states across the country due to their sexual orientation or gender identity. This discrimination strikes at the heart of the values of our nation – let us come together and pass this bill, so we can take a step closer to truly guaranteeing liberty and justice for all.”

LGBTQ equality received a huge boost across the nation last June when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Bostock v. Clayton County that workplace discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity is prohibited as a form of sex discrimination under Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. However, this court ruling has not yet been nationally applied to other areas of potential discrimination—including housing, public accommodations, jury service, access to credit, and more. Many Americans believe that such protections are already explicitly written into federal civil rights law, but this is not the case. The Equality Act would finally codify protections against discrimination into federal law and ensure that these essential protections for LGBTQ Americans are not subject to the interpretations of a changing court.

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