Equality Act would afford federal protections to LGBTQ+ individuals, ABA president says

Civil Rights


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ABA President Bob Carlson sent a letter to the House Judiciary Committee Tuesday, urging members to support the Equality Act of 2019, which would prohibit discrimination on the basis of sex, gender identity and sexual orientation.

In the letter, Carlson explained that the legislation would include LGBTQ+ individuals in the Civil Rights Act of 1964, whereas currently, their rights depend on the state in which they reside. He added that in 30 states, LGBTQ+ people risk being denied housing, credit, services, public accommodation, education, access to their children, employment or jury service.

“There is bipartisan support for the Equality Act, and 70 percent of Americans support equal rights for LGBTQ+,” Carlson said.

The ABA House of Delegates also overwhelmingly passed a resolution at the 2019 ABA Midyear Meeting that specifically supports enactment of the Equality Act. It urges Congress to enact legislation affirming that discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity is sex discrimination under the Civil Rights Act, and that religious freedom laws don’t authorize otherwise illegal discrimination.

Additionally, Carlson pointed out that the ABA supports the legislation because it will protect LGBTQ+ individuals from workplace discrimination; denial of services, public accommodation, housing or credit; and discrimination in jury service because of their sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression.

“The American Bar Association believes that everyone deserves equal protection under the law,” Carlson said in the letter.

He requested that the letter be made part of the hearing record.

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