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It just could happen

Congress could act on National Equality Act by mid-May

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Projections are that the US Congress could vote as early as the first half of May on a National Equality Act, according to Brian Silva, founder and executive director of NEAT and the National Equality Action Team Education Fund.

The Equality Act is a bill in Congress, that, if passed, would amend the Civil Rights Act to prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity in employment, housing, public accommodations, public education, federal funding, credit, and the jury system.

The act will not only add nondiscrimination protections to finally protect LGBT people, it will update the existing law to fully protect women and modernize key parts that protect everyone.

The National Equality Action Team (NEAT) is the home for harnessing and building the unique power of everyday people and partners anywhere, to make extraordinary change together, for LGBTQ+ Justice everywhere. “We do this through intersectional, grassroots, collective action and education,” Silva explains.

Central Voice has been invited to participate as a media outlet member of the National Equality Action Team. 

A nationwide and state-by-state poll on the issue conducted throughout 2017 by the Public Religion Research Institute as part of the annual American Values Atlas survey revealed that 70% of Americans, including a majority in every state, supported laws that would protect lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people against discrimination, while 23% opposed such laws, and 8% had no opinion.

The Equality Act was jointly introduced in both the US House of Representatives and the US Senate on March 13, 2019, with the support of both Democraticand Republican members of Congress, national civil rights organizations (including the NAACP, the Anti-Defamation League and the Human Rights Campaign), international human rights organizations (including Human Rights Watch), major professional associations including the American Medical Association, the American Psychological Association, the American Counseling Association, the American Federation of Teachers, and the American Bar Association), and major businesses including Apple, Microsoft, Amazon, eBay, IBM, Facebook, Twitter, Mastercard, Intel, and Netflix.

History

The original Equality Act was developed by U.S. Representatives Bella Abzug (D-NY) and Ed Koch (D-NY) in 1974. The Equality Act of 1974 sought to amend the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to include prohibit discrimination on the basis of sex, sexual orientation, and marital status in federally assisted programs, housing sales, rentals, financing, and brokerage services. Just days ago, the US Supreme Court agreed to review three cases that directly argue that LGBT protections are included in the 1964 act.

Silva says, “We need to do this work NOW to dispel misconceptions - like LGBT people are already protected – to create pressure for its bipartisan passage, and build the positive legislative record we need for its implementation.