US Equality Act is re-introduced to Congress

The US Capitol where a bill for the Equality Act has been re-introduced

The Equality Act was re-introduced to Congress for the third time on Wednesday (March 13), seeking to enshrine LGBT+ protections in America’s civil rights laws.

If it is passed, the bill would extend the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to cover discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi pledged to make the bill a priority after Democrats regained control of the chamber.

Equality Act could stall in the Senate, where Republicans hold majority

However, the bill could be blocked in the Senate, where Republicans who have held up the bill’s passage for years continue to hold a majority.

Speaking to reporters on Thursday (March 7), Pelosi said: “Next week, will be launching our Equality Act to end discrimination for the LGBTQ community and we will be launching our initiative to protect the Dreamers and temporary-protected status persons in our country.

U.S. Speaker of the House Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) speaks during a weekly news conference at the U.S. Capitol February 14, 2019 in Washington, DC. She is supporting the Equality Act.

U.S. Speaker of the House Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) speaks during a weekly news conference at the U.S. Capitol February 14, 2019 in Washington, DC. (Alex Wong/Getty)

“We said these things during the campaign, and we’re getting it done and we are telling the public about the paths that we are on to get them turned into law to make a difference in the lives of the American people.”

Major businesses back US Equality Act

It is currently legal to discriminate against LGBT+ people in 30 US states due to patchy state-level protections, as efforts to pass US-wide LGBT+ civil rights laws have been stalled in Congress for decades.

“We’re getting it done and we are telling the public about the paths that we are on to get them turned into law to make a difference in the lives of the American people.”

—Nancy Pelosi

A number of large US employees recently backed the Equality Act.

Companies supporting the bill, as part of the Human Rights Campaign’s Business Coalition for the Equality Act, include Coca-Cola, Pepsi, Google, Apple and Microsoft.

Other businesses backing the bill are Facebook, Twitter; Kellogg’s, Target and Amazon.

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