Congressman Alan Lowenthal and Congresswoman Janice Hahn, who both represent parts of Long Beach, announced their co-sponsorship of the Equality Act Thursday, legislation designed to ban discrimination against LGBT individuals in housing, employment and other areas of life.
The Equality Act is sponsored by Rep David Cicilline (D-Rhode Island) and Senator Jeff Merkley (D-Oregon), to amend the 1964 Civil Rights Act and expand upon it, making it illegal to discriminate against someone based on their sexual orientation or gender identity.
“The time has come to put an end to discrimination against LGBT individuals,” said Rep. Lowenthal in a statement. “Though we saw a great victory at the Supreme Court recently, that decision only underscores the need to ensure that not only do LGBT individuals have the same right to marry the person they love that I do, they should not be able to be fired because they are gay.”
“Fairness and equality are core American values. The Supreme Court recognized that last month when it affirmed marriage equality,” said Rep. Janice Hahn, a member of the LGBT Equality Caucus, in a statement. “But even after this decision, it is still true in most states that a gay person can get married on Saturday, post photos of their wedding to Facebook on Sunday, and get fired on Monday for no reason other than the fact that they are gay. We cannot stand by and allow this type of discrimination to be legal any longer. I am proud to be an original sponsor of the Equality Act to ensure that all LGBT Americans can enjoy their most basic human rights free from discrimination.”
The Act would apply to public accommodations, federal funding, education, employment, housing, credit and jury service, according to releases issued by both representatives on Thursday.
The releases state that currently 19 states and the District of Columbia offer employment and housing protections for the LGBT community, and three other states prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation.
Additionally, the release said 17 states and the District of Columbia bar discrimination for public accommodations based on sexual orientation and gender identity, while another four prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation. When it comes to education, the District of Columbia and 14 states prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
According to a 2015 Human Rights Campaign study, 63 percent of LGBT Americans have experienced discrimination, and 10 percent of LGBT workers have been fired because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.
Above, left: file photo.