February 25, 2021
Press Release
Votes to pass Equality Act, prohibit discrimination against LGBTQ+ individuals

(Washington, D.C.) – Today, Congressman Joe Morelle (D, NY-25) voted to pass legislation to ensure all Americans are afforded the same essential human rights regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity. Rep. Morelle was one of the original co-sponsors of the Equality Act, which will amend the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and other existing laws to ensure LGBTQ+ individuals are guaranteed the same anti-discrimination protections as their fellow Americans.

“Regardless of who they are or who their partner is, all Americans deserve the same fundamental rights and protections,” said Rep. Morelle. “It is deeply concerning—and, frankly, embarrassing—that legal barriers still exist in our country that prevent LGBTQ+ Americans from being covered by basic nondiscrimination rights. The Equality Act would change that, bringing our country one step closer to fulfilling our foundational promise of endowing all people with the same equal rights and opportunities.”

Currently, only 21 states and the District of Columbia have laws explicitly barring discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in employment, housing, and public accommodations, and a handful of state courts have interpreted existing anti-sex discrimination law to cover sexual orientation and gender identity. However, the majority of states still lack explicit laws barring discrimination against members of the LGBTQ+ community in many aspects of daily life.

The Equality Act, co-sponsored by Rep. Morelle, will amend the Civil Rights Act to specify that discrimination against LGBTQ+ individuals in public accommodations, federal financial assistance, education, employment, housing, credit, and jury service is illegal.

“I am proud to be a two-time cosponsor for this critical legislation,” continued Rep. Morelle. “These protections are long overdue, and I am grateful to stand as an ally to the LGBTQ+ community in the fight for opportunity, dignity, and equality for all.”

The legislation has passed the House of Representatives and will now be sent to the Senate for consideration.