Congresswoman Barbara Lee Votes to Pass Historic Legislation to End Discrimination Against All LGBTQ+ Americans

Washington, D.C. – Today, Congresswoman Barbara Lee (CA-13) released a statement following the passage of H.R. 5, the Equality Act, which ensures that all LGBTQ+ individuals are granted the full protections guaranteed by federal civil rights law.

The Equality Act amends existing federal civil rights laws to explicitly prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity in education, employment, housing, credit, federal jury service, public accommodations, and the use of federal funds. This legislation ensures that the same protections our nation has already extended based on characteristics like race and religion are equally available to LGBTQ+ Americans.

“Everyone should be treated equally under the law and feel safe in their communities. Yet, in many states, LGBTQ+ individuals can still be denied housing, access to education, employment, or jury service,” said Congresswoman Barbara Lee. “Nearly one-third of students who identify as LGBTQ+ drop out of high school due to violence, harassment, and social isolation. Forty percent of homeless youth in America identify as LGBTQ+. It is past time that we ensure our nation’s civil rights laws include protections against discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

“As a Vice Chair and founding member of the LQBTQ+ Equality Caucus, I’m proud to have joined my colleagues in voting for the Equality Act to protect the rights of the LGBTQ+ community in California and across the country. This landmark legislation reaffirms that we are all created equal and are deserving of dignity, respect and equal treatment under the law.”

The legislation was reintroduced by Rep. David Cicilline (RI-01) in the House and Senator Jeff Merkley (D-OR) in the Senate. For the full text of the bill, click here.