By Sentinel News Wire
Rep. Adriano Espaillat (NY-13) voted to pass H.R. 5, the Equality Act, to ensure that all LGBTQ Americans are granted the full protections guaranteed by federal civil rights law. The Equality Act extends anti-discrimination protections to LGBTQ Americans with regard to employment, education, access to credit, jury service, federal funding, housing and public accommodations.
“Through struggles and sacrifices, generations of tireless LGBTQ Americans have worked to forge a more just and equal future for themselves and all Americans,” said Rep. Espaillat. “As we prepare to mark Pride Month, it is an honor to join my colleagues to pass the Equality Act to finally, fully end discrimination against LGBTQ Americans in New York and across the country. This landmark legislation reaffirms that freedom from discrimination is a fundamental civil right that belongs to every American, and that no New Yorker or any American should ever lose their job, their home or live in fear simply because of who they are or whom they love.”
Fifty percent of the national LGBTQ community still live in states where, though they have the right to marry, they have no explicit non-discrimination protections in other areas of daily life. Only 21 states have explicit laws barring discrimination based on sexual orientation in employment, housing and public accommodations, and only 20 states have such protections for gender identity. In most states, a same-sex couple can get married one day and legally denied service at a restaurant, be fired from their jobs or evicted from their apartment the next. The Equality Act amends existing federal civil rights laws to create a nationwide standard that explicitly prohibits discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.
“In New York, our communities are blessed and strengthened by the beauty and diversity of our LGBTQ friends and neighbors,” continued Rep. Espaillat. “As we take this momentous step forward, we must recommit to standing strong against bigotry, discrimination and hatred wherever and whenever it is found. We will continue to ensure that all Americans are treated with dignity and respect as we work to bring our nation closer to its founding promise of full equality.”
This article originally appeared in the Los Angeles Sentinel.